Home ownership itself may seem like a simple concept; however, there are actually several ways at of accomplishing this, each with their own strengths and limitations.
Below are several methods of title ownership and what they ultimately offer you, the homeowner:
Holding Your Title
The Individual Option
If you are a single person who is seeking to purchase a home, your options are limited when it comes to the ways in which you can hold the title. You can either own the title in your own name, allowing creditors to be able to come after you to pay off any debts, or you can hold it in a trust.
Joint tenancy with rights of survivorship allows married couples as well as two non-related people the ability to own a piece of property. The rights of survivorship aspect allows an individual’s ownership of a property the ability to transfer ownership to a surviving spouse or partner upon death with the share subject to any debts, claims, or expenses that may have been left behind.
Tenancy in Common
Tenancy in common provides each homeowner of the property the ability to use the property to its fullest extent while only owning a percentage. This is available to married couples and two or more individuals but it is not typically used by married couples. Upon death, an individual’s share of the property goes through probate before it can be distributed according to that individual’s will.
Why not consider a trust?
Avoiding a probate of a property after a homeowners death can only be accomplished if the property is held through a trust. Holding a title by way of a trust also offers some additional benefits to both the current property owners as well as, in some cases, the beneficiary.
Below are a few common trusts that can allow you to hold the title on your home:
Land Trust. The property you are buying becomes the sole asset in a land trust with the owner being the beneficiary of the trust. This trust also allows a successor beneficiary to be created which would allow the property to pass directly to the successor beneficiary while avoiding a probate entirely.
Qualified Personal Residence Trust (QPRT). The QPRT gives you the ability to discount the future value of your home, possible saving you gift as well as estate taxes. You also set the term of the trust, which, upon expiration, releases the home to the beneficiaries regardless if you are still living in the home or not (rent is still an option at this point!).
Living Trust. A living trust allows for a way of passing assets from one generation to the next and has the ability to be revoked. They aren’t public documents and give you complete control of the asset upon its addition to the trust.
Family Limited Partnership. A family limited partnership is also another trust that allows assets to move from one generation to another by making the beneficiaries small Limited Partners of the partnership that owns the property. The General Partners are able to give small pieces of ownership over time to these Limited Partners.
If you are in the market to purchase a new home, today’s market environment is very promising and offers many opportunities. I would be glad to help you.