Holding Title

So we have discussed Title Insurance that makes sure your Title is clear of past liens and issues. We have discussed who can be on Title with the Deed and Mortgage. Let’s take a look at one more piece of the Title puzzle and that is How We Hold Title in PA. PA is not a community property state. The information provided should be verified with a Title Company and or an Attorney familiar with your situation… this is not legal advice.

Sole Ownership: 

 Sole ownership means holding title alone. A single person even if married or divorced may hold title as a sole owner. However, a spouse would formally give up any legal rights to the property. At the death of a sole owner, the distribution of the property is handled through the probate court, often a lengthy process, in the absence of a will.

I’m getting divorced can I buy a house?

Yes! The title to the home could be in your name alone. The Title Company may ask for a quit claim deed or notice that the non-buying spouse would have no claim to Title. The issue could be about any money used in the purchase. If it is deemed part of Marital Funds the other party may have claim to all or part of the Money used, Not the House. Protect yourself and please get legal advice before signing any contracts while in the process of a Divorce.

 Tenants By Entirety:

 Tenants by Entirety is used for married couples. The couple would be considered as one entity with an indivisible ownership. This protects the property from an individual debt by either party. If one passes the ownership would pass to the remaining spouse.

NOTE: You can use multiple forms in some cases for example two married couples purchase a second home together as a vacation home. They may be Tenants by Entirety between spouses and Tenants in Common between couples.

Joint Tenants: 

 Joint Tenants or Joint Tenants with right of survivor ship is much like it sounds in that several owners would be equal owners in the property. If one owner passed then the ownership would pass to the surviving person. 

 Tenants In Common: 

 Tenants in Common would be used if 2 or more persons were in title and you wanted to have a divisible ownership. The amount of ownership would be equal if not stated but can be any amount for example 25%/25%/50%. The ownership interest may pass to one or more of the remaining persons upon death or could pass to an heir. Tenants in common may also allow a person to sell their interest in the property separately. Caution should be used along with a detailed agreement drawn up to cover future circumstances. You could end up with a person that will try to force the sale or an heir that you did not intend to ever own property with.  

Living Trust: 

 Living trusts have several advantages. They are created while you are still alive and can be  designated as revocable or irrevocable. Even though you transfer ownership of your property to the trust, in the case of a revocable trust, the trustee may buy, sell or finance assets. You, the trustor can create the trust for the beneficiaries, who you will name in the trust agreement. You may also serve as the trustee (manager of the property held in trust) or appoint a third party. A revocable living trust allows you tocontrol the distribution of your estate without some of the hassle of going through the probate court. You can change or cancel the trust at any time before your death. You may avoid some of the litigation common with wills. You can create joint or separate revocable living trusts with your spouse. You may minimize estate taxes depending on how your attorney or CPA councils you to set up your trust structure.


Property may be held in an LLC or limited Liability Corporation. Lenders will generally make the partners sign for any financing personally.

Other Info:


 Title may also be held as Corporations or held during a 1031 exchange. These can be complicated so please seek Title Company or Attorney guidance.

Can Minors hold Tittle?

I. Pennsylvania: Both minors and Incompetents Can Hold Title to Real Estate and Personal Property.
Pennsylvania provides the clearest answer regarding the titling of property in the names of minors and incompetents. Pennsylvania’s Decedents, Estates, and Fiduciaries statutes provide that title to real estate and personal property can rest in both minors and incompetents: Title to real and personal estate of an incompetent Legal title to all real estate and personal property of an incompetent shall remain in him, subject, however, to all the powers granted to his guardian by this code and lawfully by a governing instrument and to all orders of the court.
20 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. Sec. 302 (1975). Title to real and personal estate of a minor Legal title to all real and personal property of a minor shall remain in him, subject, however, to all the powers granted to his guardian by this code and lawfully by a governing instrument and to all orders of the court.
20 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. Sec. 303 (1975).
In addition, the case of In re Provident Trust Co. of Philadelphia, 346 Pa. 37, 29 A.2d 524 at 526 (1943), clearly indicates that title to property rests in the beneficiary, not the guardian.

Next lets take a look at the people who can be on Title and how that differs from the Mortgage and Note.
“Deed, Mortgage & Note”

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