Taking Title as a Married Couple

What is a marriage?  A contract.  You do not necessarily think about the legal ramifications at the wedding, but who inherits the house if one of you dies, or who gets the house in the case of a divorce?  You can fix that with a prenuptial agreement, you can fix the contract.    However, just because it is a contract does not mean it is enforceable.  Talk to an attorney and figure out how to make it enforceable. Getting married can change your life.  It can also change how you hold property title.  So you and your boyfriend bought a house together and took title as Tenants in Common.  The only unity there is the Unity of Possession.  Either one of you can sell your interest in the house without notice to the other owner.  But if you get married, neither of you can break the tenancy nor otherwise convey the property without consent of the spouse. Married couples hold title as Tenants by Entirety.  This includes the unities of Joint Tenancy with Rights of Survivorship plus the Unity of Marriage, which subscribes to the legal fiction that a married couple is one entity.  You cannot disinherit your spouse.  Your wife […] Read More

What Does the Fox Say in Real Estate Title?

Music video, “What Does the Fox Say?” was produced as an anti-hit, simply to promote a television show.  Created to fail, it accidentally went viral on YouTube, with over 500 million views to date.  Similarly, the fox in the case Pierson v. Post had an unexpected outcome. Pierson v. Post is from English Common Law and is the first case you read in law school regarding real estate law.  Who gets to keep the fox—the guy who chased it or the guy who stepped in and shot it?  Which created the property?    Post chased down the fox and Pierson shot it.  What did the fox say?  Nothing—the fox was dead and awarded to Post. Florida is a Notice State.  The last person to take ownership without notice is the owner. If Christopher Crook sells a piece of property at Title Company A, and then before it is recorded Mr. Crook sells the same property at Title Company B, who is the owner of the property?  Answer:  Buyer B.  The buyer at the second closing does not have Notice if Title A has not made it to the courthouse yet.  Once the deed is recorded, then Constructive Notice is given. The […] Read More

Deeds

Once upon a time there was a mayfly who wanted a piece of property, and he wanted it right away.  “I do not need one of them fancy deeds that a lawyer writes,” he said to himself.  “I will get me one of them ‘quick claim deeds,’ that is a fast deed—I can get it real fast!  Yeah, that is what I want.”  So he went off to the Internet and bought a form and filled it out and had the seller sign it—it was a Quit Claim Deed—and the seller’s liability toward the property ended right there. Mr. Mayfly had wanted to have the property not just to live there himself, but also to pass on as something of value to his heirs.  He built a house, raised a family, and died all in the same day—he had a congenital history of twenty-four hour lifecycles.  His intention, however, did not carry on very long.  In only a few short generations, it was discovered that the man who signed as the seller to the original Mr. Mayfly actually had no interest whatsoever in the property.  Oh he had taken Mayfly’s money all right, but the property was not rightfully his […] Read More

Florida: The Constructive Notice State

Florida is a state of sunshine, beaches, and Constructive Notice on property title.  Most title companies try to make that gap between closing and the time a deed is recorded as small as possible…for good reason. If Christopher Crook sells a piece of property at Title Company A, and then an hour later sells the same property at Title Company B, who is the owner of the property?  Answer:  Buyer B. The buyer at the second closing does not have Notice if Title A has not made it to the courthouse yet.  Once the deed is recorded, then Constructive Notice is given. Read More