A real estate deal in California often involves more than one buyer. Even a married couple buying their first home might need to consider how the legal terms of property ownership should be determined. Whether the buyers are family members or a group of investors, they can choose among legal options such as a joint tenancy, tenants in common, a trust or a limited liability company.
Married couples often select a joint tenancy for a home purchase. This creates a right of survivorship. If one spouser dies, then the surviving spouse automatically gains sole title of the property. More than two people, such as siblings, might also choose this form of ownership. Tenants in common creates an alternative structure. Each person possesses a percentage of ownership. This share can be sold to others. Additionally, the share can be assigned to heirs.
Trusts represent a legal tool for transferring property upon the death of an owner. This action will not require the oversight of a probate court. When people invest in properties that they are planning on earning income from through rentals, they generally choose to create limited liability companies that serve as the actual entities that own it.
When a person is considering a real estate purchase, a consultation with a lawyer could provide important insights about how to arrange ownership. Exposure to liabilities might be analyzed by a lawyer. Recommendations about how to protect long-term interests could then be made. Along with considerations about the ownership structure, a lawyer could help resolve problems like title issues or a lack of disclosure.