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By Jason Carrozza

Hi Everybody,

Happy Wednesday and Happy Halloween!!! The forecast looks clear this weekend so Trick-or-Treating should be enjoyable. Stay safe and have fun. I hope the costumes aren’t too scary!

Speaking of scary things, sometimes people aren’t aware of exactly how they hold title to their home. This can lead to unnecessary complications upon the passing of a homeowner. Sometimes unnecessary probate is triggered, or worse, you can have two parties that are at odds now owning a portion of the same property. How property is titled is extremely important, therefore, this week we are discussing various ways you can hold title to your house.

  • Tenancy By The Entirety: This type of tenancy is only available for married individuals. Holding title to your property in this manner provides that the property automatically passes to the surviving spouse. Holding property in this manner avoids probate.
  • Joint Tenancy: This is available to multiple parties of any relation that are purchasing a property together. With a joint tenancy, the property automatically passes to the surviving joint tenant. Holding property in this matter avoids probate and prohibits an individual from passing on his/her portion of the property as an inheritance.
  • Tenants in Common: This type of tenancy requires probate of the deceased property owner’s estate before the property can be sold or mortgaged. This type of tenancy contains no rights of survivorship, therefore, the deceased person’s interest may pass to his or her heirs and not the other owners of the property.

As you can see, it’s important to understand where your property will go upon your death. A change in tenancy can really be at odds with your overall estate planning goals. Commonly, I have also seen surviving spouses having to go through probate to obtain their property because unbeknownst to them their name was never on the original deed! These tenancy designations are important and have real life consequences.

If you’re interested in discussing how title is held for your property, please contact us. We’d be happy to discuss your current type of tenancy and how that aligns with your current estate plan.

Until next time,

About the Author
Jason M. Carrozza is a partner and founder of Family Legal Partners, P.C., previously owning Carrozza Law Office, P.C., which focused on estate planning, probate administration, and business formation. He was recognized as a Massachusetts Rising Star by New England Super Lawyers and Boston Magazine in 2014, 2015, and 2016, an honor given to no more than 5% of attorneys in the state. Graduating magna cum laude from New England Law and ranked 3rd in his class, Jason completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Tampa. He gained experience in civil litigation, divorce, corporate, and insurance defense law firms before opening his practice in 2004. Jason is admitted to practice before the Massachusetts Courts, is a trained family law mediator, and a member of the Massachusetts Council on Family Mediation. He has volunteered for pro bono panels with Senior Partners For Justice, South Middlesex Legal Services, and the New Center for Legal Advocacy. Dedicated to his community, he has served in various leadership roles including vice president of the Bellingham Business Association and Master of Excelsior Lodge of Massachusetts Freemasons. He teaches Estate Planning Basics at the Tri County Continuing Adult Education program and speaks at estate planning seminars throughout the year. An avid baseball fan and history enthusiast, Jason enjoys outdoor activities and spending time with his family. He lives in Massachusetts with his wife, Katrina, and their children, Zachary and Madelyn.