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Buyer Representation

Holding Title to Real Estate

The three most common ways two or more persons may hold title to real estate are:

  1. Tenants in Common
  2. Joint Tenants
  3. Tenants by the Entirety

Who Has Control and Management?

When title is held as Tenants in Common or Joint Tenants, the rents, control, management and possession of the property is in the owner equally, in the absence of an agreement to the contrary, but the individuals can divest themselves of their individual share in the property without the joining in of the others.

Under the provisions of G.L. c. 209, § 1, when title is held as Tenants by the Entirety (which is limited to husband and wife) rents, control, management and possession of property are in the owners equally.

What Happens Upon the Death of One of the Owners?

When title is held as Tenants in Common, it is necessary to probate the estate of the deceased before the real estate may be sold or mortgaged. There is no right of survivorship.

When the title is held as Joint Tenants or as Tenants by the Entirety, the title automatically succeeds to the surviving title holder or title holders without the necessity to probate the estate of the deceased before the real estate may be sold or mortgaged.

In any case of death of an owner of real estate, whether Tenants in Common, Joint Tenants or Tenants by the Entirety, it is necessary to procure a release of the estate tax or taxes which automatically – by statute – become a lien on the property.

updated: 2 years ago