Individual Ownership

    The property is conveyed to one owner, in fee simple, an individual, a corporation, partnership, trustee or limited liability company,
    which has exclusive use and benefit of the property and the right to dispose of it.  This is the only form of ownership available to
    individual purchasers, corporations, trustees, partnerships and limited liability companies.  If this type of conveyance is made to an
    individual person it is subject to inheritance rights of any present or future spouse.  Sale or encumbrance (e.g., placing a loan
    secured by a deed of trust) of the property is usually possible without concurrence of a spouse, provided the conveyance is done to a
    bona-fide purchaser, or for adequate and full consideration.  A future spouse's inheritance rights attach automatically upon marriage -
    even though the property may have been acquired before the marriage.  The property is subject to the claims of a creditor of the
    owner.

    Tenants in Common-no common law right of survivorship

    The property is conveyed to two or more persons, each of whom owns an undivided fractional interest in the property.  This form of
    ownership is subject to the inheritance rights of an owner's spouse.  The interest of a deceased owner does not automatically pass to
    the surviving owners, but instead passes under his or her will (or according to the Virginia statutory descent and distribution rules of
    intestacy).  Any owner may cause the partition of the property, either in kind, or, if that is not practicable, by a court ordered sale and
    division of the proceeds.  The interest of each owner need not be equal.  The property is subject to the claims of a creditor of any
    owner.  This tenancy is most often used in shared equity arrangements, or in joint-venture purchases.

    Joint Tenants, with common law right of survivorship

    The property is conveyed to two or more persons, each of whom owns an undivided interest in the whole property.  The interest of
    one owner who dies passes automatically to the surviving owner or owners.  All owners must join in any disposition of the property.  
    The last survivor becomes the sole owner, and as such can then sell, mortgage or devise the property.  Any joint tenant may cause a
    partition of the property.  This form of ownership is not normally subject to the inheritance rights1 of spouses, except possibly as to
    the final surviving joint tenant.  The property is subject to the claims of a creditor of any owner.  An important characteristic of this
    form of ownership is that each joint tenant's interest is equal and each interest must have been acquired concurrently.  This tenancy
    is most often used in inter-familial purchases (e.g., parents assisting son or daughter with purchase).

    Tenants by the Entirety (Entireties), with the common law right of survivorship

    This is a special type of joint and survivor tenancy which exists only between husband and wife.  In the event that one spouse dies,
    the entire property automatically passes by operation of law to the full ownership of the surviving spouse. Both spouses must concur
    in any disposition of the property.  An important feature of this tenancy is that the property is not subject to the claims of the creditors
    of only one spouse - only creditors of both spouses may attach the property.  This is the form most commonly used by husbands and
    wives in Virginia.  A tenancy by the entireties is automatically severed upon divorce of a husband and wife and, by operation of law,
    becomes a tenancy in common.
PotomacWestTitle
Professional Real Estate Closings
Real Estate Forms of Ownership
Potomac West Title
9316-A Old Keene Mill Road
Burke, Virginia 22015-4285
703-584-7744
(F) 703-584-7746
lmartin@pwtitle.com