When unmarried people buy a home together, what is the best way to hold title?
- As tenants-in-common, each owner has a stated percentage of interest in a home (50/50, 80/20, etc.). If either owner dies, the percentage of homeownership goes to the estate of the deceased.
- As joint tenants, both owners own the home in its entirety, without a division of interest. If either owner dies, the other owns the whole home.
Therefore, it depends on each individual situation which ownership plan is better. If an unmarried couple has wedding plans, a joint tenancy would protect each partner's interest in case of the other partner's death. On the other hand, if no marriage is in the picture, tenancy-in-common might be the preferred route accompanied by wills stating to whom the property will go in case of death.
It's essential that partners-in-purchase iron out all details of such arrangements between themselves before choosing a mode of ownership. It's also advisable to discuss any agreement with lawyers representing both parties.