How to Take Title to Your Florida Property

When buying or inheriting a property, you need to think carefully about how you will take title (i.e., the legal right to own and use a property). Florida law allows for several ways to own a property, and each one has its pros and cons depending on your circumstances and what you have in mind for that property. An experienced Florida real estate attorney can walk you through these options and help you decide what is best for your interests.

Sole Ownership

Also known as “ownership in severalty,” this is the most straightforward way to hold title, since the title is held solely in the name of the individual or entity (trust, limited liability company, corporation, etc.) purchasing or receiving the property.

In the event that a married person takes title to the property as a sole owner, their spouse may still have rights to the property due to Florida homestead laws. Unlike other forms of taking title, there are no special advantages or tax incentives for sole ownership. 

Moreover, if the sole owner dies with or without a will, their property will have to go through the Florida probate process. Putting the property into a trust, setting up a Life Estate Deed, or forming a corporate entity with proper corporate documents may help to avoid provide.

Tenants in Common (or Ownership in Common)

This method is popular for friends, family members, or business associates who wish to co-own a property together. Under this arrangement, each owner (also known as a tenant) owns a specified interest in the property that can be proportional – for example, two tenants each owning 50% – or unequal, depending on what they agree on.

Regardless of what percentage of interest they own, each tenant in common can sell or convey their interest to whomever they wish. On the flip side, however, the remaining tenant in common may not like co-owning with a new owner.

There is also the issue of what happens when owners in common disagree on the sale or conveyance of the entire property. In many cases such disputes will culminate in a lawsuit to bring a partition action that forces the property to be sold and the proceeds to be split among the co-owners proportional to their ownership interest (or one owner can buy out the other owner).

This type of ownership structure also does not avoid probate, so when one owner passes, their interest in the property will have to go through the probate process in order for ownership to pass to their heirs.

Joint Tenancy with Right of Survivorship

As with a tenancy in common, a joint tenancy with rights of survivorship involves two or more individuals or entities taking title to the same property. However, a joint tenancy with the right of survivorship requires that each co-owner have an equal ownership interest and take possession of the title via the same deed and at the same time.

Another key difference from an ownership in common is what happens upon the death of any joint tenant: when a co-owner dies, their share automatically passes to the surviving member(s) without having to go through probate. This is one reason why this way of holding title is most popular among close friends or family members. Only if all the joint owners die simultaneously will probate be required, since there is no one left to automatically receive the remaining interest.

One big disadvantage to a joint tenancy with right of survivorship is exposure to creditors: if one joint owner obtains a creditor judgments that attaches to the property, that creditor may take legal action to force all owners to sell the property to satisfy the debt (regardless of whether the other joint tenants knew anything about it).

Hire an Experienced Florida Real Estate Attorney Before Taking Title

How you take title to a property may have significant repercussions for you and your loved ones down the road. Thus you should never make this decision without consulting with an experienced Florida Real Estate Attorney, who will take the time to understand your goals and explain what form of ownership is best to protect your interests.

In addition to providing honest and sound counsel for your real estate decisions, we can help prepare the deed or other relevant documents necessary to take title in the manner that is best for you. Call us at (800) 604-1871 or email us at for a free consultation on our deed transfer, title & closing, and other real estate services. We provide deed and title transfer services for properties located anywhere in Florida.