If you share home ownership, your rights to convey that property or to inherit it depend on what type of tenancy you hold. In Florida there are three basic co-tenancies to hold real estate title, and each of them have their own “unities.”
- Tenancy in Common – The only unity is Unity of Possession. Each person in the co-tenancy had the right to possess the property. The parties can own the property in whatever percentages they want. Any party can sell their interest to anyone without notice to the other owners.
- Joint Tenancy with Rights of Survivorship – There are four unities:
- Unity of Possession (just like Tenancy in Common)
- Unity of Time (the co-tenants must take title at the same time)
- Unity of Title (they must take title on the same instrument)
- Unity of Interest (each party has the same percentage interest as the others)
Any of the co-tenants can break the joint tenancy with rights of survivorship by conveying their interest to anyone else.
- Tenancy 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 husband and wife are one entity. As long as the marriage is intact, neither can break the tenancy nor otherwise convey the property. However, upon the dissolution of the marriage, the property is automatically held as Tenancy in Common.
So, when you take title, it might be wise to get out of fairytale land. Seek competent legal advice so your ever-afters wind up where you want them.