There several common ways to hold title to real property in California. Sole and co-ownership title examples:
- A Single Man/Woman: By a person not legally married.
- An Unmarried Man/Woman: A married man or woman who is legally divorced.
- Married as sole and separate property: A married man or woman wishing to hold title in their name alone. Their spouse’s consent is required by Quit Claim Deed or otherwise, thereby foregoing all rights, title and interest in the property.
- Joint Tenancy: Owned by two or more persons in equal shares by a title created from a single will or transfer which is declared in a will or transfer as a joint tenancy. Chiefly a joint tenancy property has the right of survivor-ship when a joint tenant passes away, title immediately vests in the survivor or surviving joint tenants. Consequently, a joint tenancy property isn’t subject to disposition by will.
- Tenancy in Common: Tenancy in common allows co-owners to own undivided interests. The interests do not have to be equal in quantity or duration with no right of survivor-ship; each tenant interest upon death is vested to the legal heirs or devisees.
- Community Property: Real property acquired by a married person while marriage. The property is presumed to be community property when conveyed to a married man or woman, unless otherwise stated. Either spouse has the right by will, to dispose of their half of the property. The one-half will go to the surviving spouse without administration, if a spouse has not exercised their right to dispose of their half to someone other than their spouse. If a spouse exercises their right, their half of the property is subject to administration in the estate.
- Community Property with Right of Survivor-ship: When expressly declared as “community property with the right of survivor-ship,” the surviving spouse receives the property without the property passing through the administration of the estate.
- Trust: Real property in California may be held in a title holding trust which holds legal and equitable title to the real estate. A trustee holds title for the trustor/beneficiary who retains the management rights and responsibilities.