When if you are in the real estate title by yourself or there is more than one person in the real estate title in Florida, the default classification is that of a tenancy in common.
Typically, the title might read John and Mary, as tenants in common. If the title only lists John and Mary’s name by itself, without any other classification then it will also be presumed to be a tenancy in common.
Unless otherwise specified, tenants in common have equal ownership percentage in the real property. However, this can vary by agreement between you and the other tenants in common.
What happens when you or another co-tenant passes away?
Since there is no survivorship feature in the tenancy in common, at the death of one of the tenants in common, his or her interest is able to be inherited by the heirs of tenant who passed away.
You also may create a Florida last will and testament and designate who you want to inherit the real property, subject to the Homestead limitations outlined below. Unless that interest is held in a Florida revocable trust, your heirs or beneficiary will have to open an administration in Florida probate court to change the title of the real property to reflect the heirs.
Your heirs or beneficiaries under your last will and testament will need to hire a probate attorney to assist them with the probate administration.
The negatives of the property interest passing through probate is that the Florida probate system is a public process, therefore anyone can request access to the information. In addition, the probate attorney will take a small percentage out of the assets in the administration, not to count the stress and length of administration.
When does it make sense to own property as a tenant in common?
If you investing in real property with one or more persons, then owning property as a tenant in common is a wise choice. If you pass away then your heirs can inherit that real property.
In addition, it might make sense for married couples to own real property in some circumstances, specially when it is a second or third marriage and there are children from different marriages. This is one way to make sure that your interest in the real property is able to be inherited by your children. See the Florida Homestead limitations below.