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Buying Real Estate: Joint Tenancy and Tenancy in Common

Whether an attorney must be present at a real estate closing, typically depends on the state’s view of whether a non-attorney conducting a closing, is the “unauthorized practice of law”.  Connecticut, unlike many other states, still heavily relies on attorneys to conduct closings.

If you are buying real estate in Connecticut, and you are taking title jointly with another person such as your spouse, ask your attorney for advice on how to take title.  There are differences between a “joint tenancy” and a “tenancy in common”.

In a tenancy in common “each cotenant holds an undivided partial … interest in the whole of their property… A consequence of this form of ownership is that a cotenant can freely sell, lease or mortgage his own undivided interest in the whole property to a third party without the consent of the remaining cotenants … A cotenant may not, however, act unilaterally so as to bind the interest of his cotenant.”    (Citations omitted.)  Ianotti v. Ciccio, 219 Conn. 36, 41 (1991).

Typically married persons who take title to real estate elect “Joint Tenancy with Rights of Survivorship”.   The survivorship provision results in vesting of the entire title to the property, to the surviving party, on the other’s death.  This shows how your decision to take title to real estate, is part of your overall estate plan.

At Marder, Roberson & DeFelice Law Offices, LLC our attorneys are knowledgeable in both real estate conveyancing, and estate planning.   When you buy a home, take some time to think about your estate plan.