JTWROS is an acronym for a way to hold title, Joint Tenants with Rights of Survivorship. Called Joint Tenancy, it’s a way for two or more people to own real estate. They can be a two people in marriage, two or more colleagues or business partners. And is perhaps the single most common way to hold hold title the correct wayresidential real estate.

Its biggest advantage is the ability to transfer ownership to the remaining partners upon death of one of partners without having to go through a lengthy probate process as long as there is a will involved, it’s a brief review. If there is no will however, it will take longer to distribute the property to the surviving partners.

In order for JTWROS to be an option all interested parties must be on title at the very same time and appear on the very same set of title documents. Someone added later cannot be a joint tenant for instance. Each partner owns an equal interest in the property even though one of the partners is not on the note financing the property.

Another common way to hold title is called Tenants in Common. In such a structure should one of the partners die the property is transferred to the heirs and not to the other owners. Anyone can hold ownership as tenants in common and can be added to the title at a later date. This can happen when a partnership takes on a new partner and the agreement provides a legal interest in certain properties to the new partner. Unlike joint tenancy, tenants in common can have varying degrees of ownership. One may have a 50 percent interest while two others may have a 25 percent each.

Serious investors will take title in a business entity such as an LLC or corporation to provide a legal shield between business activities and personal assets instead of joint tenancy or tenants in common. Holding title is a personal, legal issue and one that deserves a conversation with legal counsel.