Before you reach the closing day, you will want to make a decision as to how you will "hold title" to the property. This decision has legal, tax and estate planning ramifications. Therefore, it may be prudent to consult an attorney, certified public accountant (CPA), and your financial planner.
The following information is supplied for informational purposes and should not be relied upon as legal definitions.
Buying with Others
Joint Tenancy is property owned by multiple individuals in equal shares. Each joint tenant has an undivided right to possess the whole property and a proportionate right of equal ownership interest. If one of the owners dies, the remaining owners acquire the share of the deceased owner automatically. When one joint tenant dies, his/her interest automatically vests in the surviving joint tenant(s) by operation of law. Words in the deed such as "Fred and Wilma, as joint tenants with right of survivorship and not as tenants in common" establishes title in joint tenancy.
Community Property or Tenancy by the Entirety is property owned equally between a husband and wife. Each must sign all agreements and documents of transfer. Neither spouse can sell the property without the consent of the other. Words in the deed such as "Fred and Wilma, husband and wife as tenancy in the entirety" establishes title in tenancy by the entireties.
Additional Ways to Hold Title
A Corporation is a legal entity, created under state law, consisting of one or more shareholders but regarded under law as having essentially the same as those of an individual. The entity has continuous existence until it is dissolved according to legal procedures. Land owned by a corporation cannot be attached for personal debts or judgments rendered against any of its shareholders.
A Partnership is an association of two or more persons who can carry on business for profit. A partnership may hold title to real property in the name of the partnership with partners having an equal or an unequal interest in the property.
A Trust is an arrangement whereby legal title to property is transferred by the grantor (or trustor) to a person called a trustee, to be held and managed by that person for the benefit of the people specified in the trust agreement, called beneficiaries.