Ways to Take Title to Property in Arizona

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deedHere is a guide on most options for taking title to property in Arizona. Arizona is a Community Property state, which means that a husband and wife are presumed to have equal interest unless legally specified. One spouse can purchase property as sole and separate with the explicit permission of their spouse. The spouse would have to execute a Disclaimer Deed.

Community Property with the Right of Survivorship

  • Only available to persons married to each other.
  • Each spouse owns an undivided one-half interest in the community property.
  • Estate passes to the surviving spouse upon death of the other spouse.
  • No court action required to clear title upon death of spouse.
  • One spouse cannot sell his or her interest.
  • Requires signatures of both spouses to convey or encumber.

Community Property

  • Only available to persons married to each other.
  • Each spouse owns an undivided one-half interest in the community property.
  • Each spouse may provide by will one-half of the community property.
  • Upon death, the estate of the decedent  must be cleared through probate, affidavit or adjudication.
  • One spouse cannot sell his or her interest.
  • Requires signatures of both spouses to convey or encumber.
  • Property acquired by a spouse during marriage is presumed to be community property except that property acquired by gift, device or descent.

Joint Tenancy with the Right of Survivorship

  • Available to two or more parties that do not need not be married.
  • Each joint tenant holds an equal and undivided interest.
  • Upon death of one of the joint tenants, their interest passes to remaining joint tenant(s).
  • Requires signatures of all joint tenants to convey or encumber the whole.
  • One joint tenant can partition the property by selling his or her interest.
  • All joint tenants do not need to take their interest at the same time.

Tenancy in Common

  • Available to two or more parties that are not married.
  • Each tenant in common holds a undivided interest that need not be equal, but in the aggregate cannot exceed 100% of the ownership interest.
  • Each tenant has right to possession.
  • Each tenant can convey or mortgage their interest without destroying the co-tenancy estate.
  • Requires signatures of of all tenants to convey or encumber the whole.
  • Upon death, the tenant's share passes to his or her heirs by will or intestacy. The estate of the decedent must be cleared through probate, affidavit or adjudication.

Beneficiary Deed

  • The owner of real estate may record a deed to transfer title to another upon the owner's death.
  • Purpose is to create a transfer-at-death type of grant to a third party without the need for special administration at time of death.
  • Flexible about who can grant and who can receive. There can be more than one owner and more than one beneficiary.
  • The grant to the beneficiary can be held in any form permitted by law.

Other Forms of Ownership

  • General partnership, limited partnership, limited liability company, corporation or any other legal entity or individual can own property.
 
For a more comprehensive explanation of legal and tax consequences, it is recommended that you consult with an estate planner, tax account and/or attorney.

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