Q&A: Estate and Ownership Transfers

I own a condo and recently got married. Ever since, the board of directors at my complex refuse to discuss pertinent matters with my husband, as he is not legally the owner. Is there any way to change the ownership record now that I'm married, to establish the condo as our joint property? What should I do here, from a legal perspective?

—A Change of Heart

“Yes. A deed can be issued from you as sole owner to you and your husband,” according to Shaun J. Marker, an attorney with the Tampa-based Merlin Law Group. “Generally, there are three different types of joint ownership of property that can be set up: Tenants in Common (TIC), Joint Tenants with Rights of Survivorship (JTWROS) and Tenancy by the Entirety (TBE). Tenants in Common is an undivided interest of joint ownership. This means that each party has the right to alienate, or transfer the ownership of, her ownership interest. This can be done by deed, will, or other conveyance. When one joint owner dies, their interest is subject to probate. In contrast, owning assets or property jointly with rights of survivorship avoids the probate process, but is similar to TIC in that either party can individually alienate or transfer his interest. When this happens the asset is owned as TIC. Individuals owning assets or property as tenants by the entireties cannot alienate or transfer without the consent and signature of the other. Holding assets as TBE has certain advantages for married couples. When one spouse dies, the surviving spouse owns all the assets without the need for probate. Creditors of only one spouse cannot reach the assets, as both husband and wife must be liable for a creditor to successfully attack the assets. However, there are traps for the unwary when relying on TBE for asset protection purposes. You should consult with a real estate attorney to discuss and evaluate the situation that works best for your particular situation.”     

Related Articles

Q&A: Greasing the Vote?

Q&A: Greasing the Vote?

Q&A: Renting Out a Condo

Q&A: Renting Out a Condo

Q&A: Owner Who Owes Money Now Declares Bankruptcy

Q&A: Owner Who Owes Money Now Declares Bankruptcy