Thursday, October 23, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

We’d like to change how the house title reads, how do we do that?

By
From page HSR2 | April 26, 2014 |

Q:  My girlfriend and I bought a house together last winter. It was the first house either of us had ever bought. We each paid half of the down payment and we’re splitting the mortgage and tax payments equally.

Many months ago I read one of your columns where you talked about the different ways you can hold title to a house with somebody else. I didn’t think much of it at the time, but this past weekend I was trying to clean out some paperwork and came across a copy of our deed. We apparently purchased the property as joint tenants. As I remember, that means if one of us dies the other person gets the whole house.

We had never discussed this with our escrow officer or real estate agent, but we both have kids from previous marriages and we want them to get our interest if we die.

On the other hand, if one of us dies, we don’t want that person’s adult kids moving in with the survivor or selling the house out from under them. What, if anything, should we do?

A:  This is a situation I’ve written about at least once each year in 20-plus years I’ve been writing this column. The reason is simple, there are more and more “blended” families where couples have the same issues and concerns you’re experiencing. The email questions like yours have gotten more and more voluminous over the years.

You are correct that, as joint tenants, the deceased’s one-half interest will pass to the other owner immediately upon death. At that point, the surviving owner can do with the property as he or she wishes.

To accomplish your goals, in the unfortunate event one of you passes away, you’ll need to take several steps.

First, you should sever your joint tenancy. There are a couple of ways to accomplish this, all of which are quite simple if both you are in agreement.

You will then hold the property as tenants in common, which simply means you each own 50 percent of the property and are free to do whatever you want with it upon your death.

Now the problem gets a little more complicated.

If you want to put restrictions on each other’s children it is best to accomplish this through estate planning documents such as a trust or will.  You’ll need an attorney to draft the plan because there are a number of options available, some with significant tax issues.

One option is to leave to the surviving owner a life estate for the deceased’s half interest. A life estate would give the surviving owner title to the property in its entirety, but only until that person dies.

After the death of the second owner, the two 50 percent interests will again be split and each will pass to the respective heirs. That way the kids would have no present ownership interest until the second person dies.

This is just one scenario.  There are many others.

And finally, you and your girlfriend need to enter into a tenants in common agreement. Longtime readers will know that I talk about these on a regular basis because I believe they are so important.

It’s amazing how many times two or more people invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in co-owned property with no written commitment regarding how the property will be handled.

Ultimately, somebody wants to sell, or thinks the owners can get more rent, or some other concern and a lawsuit results.

A good tenants in common agreement will address anticipated disputes before they happen and dictate what actions will be taken.  Particularly, what to do if one owner wants to sell.

Once again, there are as many different ways to draw up such an agreement as there are people who buy houses. The important part is to anticipate the likely areas of dispute.

Especially between boyfriends and girlfriends, who may not be boyfriend and girlfriend forever, a tenants in common agreement is of paramount importance.

Tim Jones is a real estate attorney in Fairfield. If you have real estate questions you’d like to have answered in this column you can contact him at SolanoScene@TJones-Law.com.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Children run for the sake of running

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A1, 2 Comments | Gallery

 
Real McCoy ferry to shut down Thursday

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A3

 
Nairobi, oldest giraffe at Six Flags, dies

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Day of Remembrance focuses on domestic violence prevention

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
 
60th Air Mobility Wing gets outstanding unit award

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A3

 
Audubon group to offer wetlands walk, bird workshop

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A4

 
 
Trailer rolls, knocks down pole, damages roadway

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A4

 
Pumpkin bob set at Fairfield city pool

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A5

 
Fairfield police log: Oct. 21, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Suisun City police log: Oct. 21, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
.

US / World

Canada’s PM says shooting rampage was terrorism

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 1 Comment

 
Study looks at lane splitting in California

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 3 Comments

125 San Francisco inmates to get computer tablets

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 5 Comments

 
California malpractice cap generates big spending

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

Huge gold nugget going up for sale in California

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Healdsburg bans tobacco sales to anyone under 21

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

Davis votes to return armored vehicle

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

 
Key features of rigorous new US Ebola monitoring

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Goofy dinosaur blends Barney and Jar Jar Binks

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Social Security benefits get another tiny increase

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

US to track everyone coming from Ebola nations

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Teens’ travel renews concerns about terror appeal

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Blackwater guards found guilty in Iraq shootings

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

 
Methodist panel hears appeal over gay wedding

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

AP-GfK Poll: Public wants tighter Ebola screening

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
UK man faked coma for 2 years to avoid court

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Missile, fire from Egypt wounds 2 Israeli troops

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Mexico: Mayor linked to deadly attack on students

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10, 1 Comment

Nigeria truce is shaky, no news of abducted girls

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Iraqi Kurdish lawmakers OK fighters for Syria

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Analysis: Fowle was North Korea’s easiest US case

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Prisons agree to end race policy

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12, 2 Comments

.

Opinion

 
Don’t make this mistake after voting

By Kelvin Wade | From Page: A11, 2 Comments

Editorial Cartoons: Oct. 23, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

 
Living a Democrat PC nightmare

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 14 Comments

Real reason to vote yes on 46

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 2 Comments

 
Keck did good job researching issue

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11

.

Living

Today in History: Oct. 23, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: Oct. 23, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
Horoscopes: Oct. 23, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

My husband visits dating sites, stays out until 3 or 4 a.m.

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

 
.

Entertainment

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
NBC promoting Weir, Lipinski to top skating team

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Annie Lennox embraces jazzy ‘Nostalgia’

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Renee Zellweger: ‘People don’t know me in my 40s’

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Sax player behind ‘Baker Street’ solo dies at 60

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7, 1 Comment

 
‘SNL’ adds black woman to cast from writers room

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7, 1 Comment

.

Sports

Kings measuring success on ‘wins and losses’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Giants’ bullpen melts down in 7-2 loss to Royals

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Warriors hoping Kerr is final piece for title run

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Local Report: Armijo XC teams finish MEL 10-0

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

Carr confident despite Raiders’ winless start

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
AP source: Goodell told to testify in Rice appeal

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Request denied to remove judge on Peterson case

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Probe: UNC academic fraud was ‘shadow curriculum’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

World Series rating for opener drops to low

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Beaten Giants fan shows significant progress

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Polian, Wolf nominated for Pro Football Hall of Fame

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Slumping Bears hope to slow No. 6 Oregon, Mariota

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Stanford picked to win Pac-12 regular-season crown

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
NBA owners fail to pass lottery reform

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Leafs-Senators game postponed after shootings

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Phony World Series tickets, merchandise seized

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Brad Keselowski not concerned with popularity

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
SHR swaps crews for Danica Patrick and Kurt Busch

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

’85 World Series Royals relishing playoff run

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4 | Gallery

 
From Mexico to the World Series, Petit Giants’ shines

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4 | Gallery

 
This date in sports history for Thursday, Oct. 23, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

.

Business

FedEx, UPS make plans for a better holiday season

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
The top 20 US cities for tech startup funding

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

‘Silicon Beach’ brings tech boom to Los Angeles

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
Camel maker Reynolds snuffs out workplace smoking

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

BofA to refund Apple Pay customers charged twice

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Google unveils app for managing Gmail inboxes

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

Government ups air bag warning to 7.8M vehicles

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
.

Obituaries

Mark Dean Lindsay

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Keith Bowen

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

Blanche Stevens

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Dr. Robert M. Takamoto

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9