Types of property ownership in Florida

Prior to closing, a homebuyer who is purchasing property in Florida must consider numerous matters. One extremely important matter, which is often not given enough consideration, is determining how to "take title" to the property. In other words, many types of property ownership exist, each with unique benefits and drawbacks.

Factors such as asset protection, taxation and estate planning-needs must be considered before choosing the best way to take title to the property. Various ways in which a buyer of a Florida home may take title to property are described here.

Single ownership:

Title to real property can be taken in a person’s own name, which is generally referred to as sole ownership. Unmarried persons, legally divorced persons and married persons who wish to hold the property in their own names may use this form of ownership.

However if a married person takes title in his or her own name, at the time he or she resells the property his or her spouse will have to relinquish his or her rights to the property due to Florida’s homestead laws.

A person can also take title to the property in the name of a living trust, which is commonly known as a revocable inter vivos trust.

Joint ownership

If a person is purchasing the Florida property with other persons, they can take title to the property as Tenants in Common. As Tenants in Common each joint owner of the property has the right to sell, lease or bequeath their interest in the property to his or her legal heirs. In Tenancy in Common, any number of individuals can hold title to their respective share of the property, depending on their contributions.

A person purchasing the Florida property with other persons can also take title to the property as Joint Tenants with the right of survivorship. Under Joint Tenancy all joint tenants have equal possession rights to their respective share in the property. In addition, due to the right of survivorship which is not present in Tenancies in Common, when a joint tenant dies, by operation of law his or her share is automatically distributed among the remaining joint tenants. There are no restrictions on the number of persons that can be joint tenants under a Joint Tenancy.

Similar to Joint Tenancies is the Tenancy by the Entirety, which is for married couples who wish to hold a joint title in the name of both spouse. Under a Tenancy by the Entirety the property is equally held in the name of both the husband and wife. This title is applicable and available for married couples only. Both the husband and wife have equal possession rights to the property and similar to a Joint Tenancy, when one spouse dies, his or her share is automatically distributed to the surviving spouse.

Other forms of ownership

Title to Florida property may also be held in the name of a separate legal entity organized under Florida state law such as a corporation or a limited liability company. Corporations and limited liability companies can have any number of shareholders or members, respectively, but the rights to the property of individual shareholders or members will be limited to the face value of shares or membership interests held by them.

Additionally, title to the Florida property may be held in the name of a partnership of two or more persons. If the title is taken in the name of a partnership it will be held in the name of the partnership, with the partners having equal right to possession of their respective share in the property.

Finally, the title may also be held in the name of a Florida Land Trust, in which the legal title of the property is transferred to a trustee for the benefit of the named beneficiaries. Some people prefer to take title in the name of a Florida Land Trust because it offers privacy with no one knowing the beneficial owner of the property or the amount of the purchase price paid for the property.

Comments (13)

  • Paul Fickes, Esq.

    Paul Fickes, Esq.

    14 June 2013 at 15:11 | #

    In terminating joint tenancy under Florida law, can a joint tenant transfer to themselves directly to creat the tenant in commom interests, or does it need to transfer to a straw person, and then transferred back to the original joint tenant? Thank you.

    reply

  • Karen

    Karen

    04 June 2015 at 00:24 | #

    I own property with my mother in Florida but it does not say on the deed that it is joint tenancy. What are my rights when she dies?

    reply

  • Frank Pollara

    Frank Pollara

    20 December 2015 at 21:17 | #

    Can you take title to property in florida as a single woman if you are married?

    reply

  • Matt

    Matt

    10 January 2016 at 05:49 | #

    My mother who is has mental disability was in Florida and purchased a double wide trailer. Her boyfriend is of sound mind and body. My mother paid cash for the property with money she really cannot afford to use. We have contacted the realtor to discuss that we need to put the property up for sale because she should have never purchased it in the first place because of her mental state and that she cannot afford the rent on the property. We have the paperwork for the sale and see that her boyfriend and our mother both signed the paperwork. The purchase was in October of 2015 and we still do not have the title. Something doesn't sit right with this whole transaction. We feel that her boyfriend used her to get the condo, which my mother paid cash for, and that the realtor and the title company for some reason have not sent us the title. They both say the title is not ready yet. It has been three months. Anyone have any advice?

    reply

    • webmaster

      webmaster

      14 January 2016 at 11:25 | #

      Matt, you may want to consider speaking with an attorney about your situation. Thanks for your question.

      reply

  • Tracee

    Tracee

    07 February 2016 at 23:03 | #

    If 4 people ( A,B,C and D) own property as joint tenants, and A sells his interest to B, what interest does B now own? Would it then be 50% owned by B and 25% each owned by C and D?

    reply

    • Jennifer

      Jennifer

      21 February 2016 at 10:03 | #

      Tracee, ýoure exactly correct. A transfers ownership to B. C & D still own (an assumed) 25% each. Therefore A is no longer owner and B now owns 50% while C & D own original percentage.

      reply

  • Eva

    Eva

    04 March 2016 at 14:23 | #

    If the deed says the property is granted to Jane Doe and John Doe, husband and wife, how do i know if that is tenancy by the entirety or tenancy in common or joint tenancy with rights of survivorship?

    reply

  • MP

    MP

    09 March 2016 at 01:40 | #

    If person A & person B want to invest in a property for business reasons, personA is unmarried, person B is a married person. What is the best way to title the property so that should person B die, person A gets the property in its entirety without person bees share becoming owned by person bees estranged spouse.

    reply

  • Sarah

    Sarah

    12 May 2016 at 16:31 | #

    If persons A and B share a title with the conjunction "or," can person A sell the entire titled property with no legal repercussions?

    reply

  • Serena Porter

    Serena Porter

    22 May 2016 at 10:54 | #

    I own property with another person in florida, he wants to rent a room (there are only two bedrooms, so in essence he's renting his), since it's all part of the same house we own am I entitled to half the rental income.

    reply

  • colin

    colin

    30 August 2016 at 10:05 | #

    If the deed for property or the stock certificate just says " joint tenants" but not "with right of survivorship", does that make a difference?

    reply

  • R McFee

    R McFee

    04 December 2016 at 08:52 | #

    Can a life estate be reserved by the grantor when transferring property in Florida ?

    reply

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