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Manner In Which Title May Be Held.

Title to real property in California may be held by individuals, either by Sole Ownership or in Co-Ownership. 


SOLE OWNERSHIP of real property is held as the following:

A Single Man/Woman:

A man or woman who is not legally married.


An Unmarried Man/Woman:

A man or woman who has been married and is legally divorced.


A Married Man/Woman, as  His/Her Sole and Separate Property:

When a married man or woman wishes to acquire title in his or her name alone, the spouse must consent, by Quit Claim Deed or otherwise, to transfer, thereby relinquishing all right, title and interest in the property.


CO-OWNERSHIP of real property is where title is held by two or more persons.   Co-Ownership of real property is held as the following:


Community Property:

The California Family Code defines community property as property acquired by a married person during marriage while domiciled in California, when not acquired as the separate property of either.  Real property conveyed to a married man or woman is presumed to be community property unless otherwise stated.  Both spouses have the right by will to dispose of ½ of the community property subject to administration in the estate.

If a spouse chooses not to dispose of his or her 1/2 interest by will, all of the community property will go to the surviving spouse.


Community Property with Right of Survivorship:

Community property acquired by a spouse or domestic partner when expressly declared in the transfer document to be "community property with right of survivorship" shall pass to the surviving spouse without having to first pass through the administration of the estate.


Joint Tenancy:

A joint tenancy estate is defined in the Civil Code as follows: A joint interest in one owned by two or more persons in equal shares, by a title created by a sing will or transfer, when expressly declared in the will or transfer to be a joint tenancy. A chief characteristic of joint tenancy property is the right of survivorship. Upon the death of a joint tenant, title to the property in it entirety would be conveyed to the surviving tenant. As a consequence, joint tenancy property is not subject to disposition by will.


Tenancy in Common:

Under tenancy in common, the co-owners own undivided interests, but unlike joint tenancy, these interests need not be equal in quantity or duration and may arise at different times. There is no right of survivorship; each tenant owns an interest which on his or her death vests in his or her heirs.

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