The Various Ways You Can Take Title In A Real Estate Transaction

Wondering how you might take title when you buy your new home? If you’re single or divorced, you’d obviously have sole ownership. But if you’re married or in a relationship, or have a living trust, there are several options. The exact language varies by state although the concepts are similar. In Florida, here are the most common ways your deed might read:

Taking Title In A Real Estate Transaction

Tenants in common. This is the legal entity the courts assume if the deed is otherwise silent. This means if there are two people taking ownership and one dies, that person’s half goes to his probate heirs, not directly to the other owner. If there are three owners, each actually owns a third, four owners a quarter, and the like.

Joint tenants with rights of survivorship. In the case of a death, this deed give the surviving owner the entire property. So if there’s a non-married couple with kids from prior relationships and one passes away, his or her share automatically goes to the remaining partner. As the new sole owner, that person can later choose to leave the home to anyone they wish– excluding their late partner’s children if they desire. (This is the reason couples on second marriages often choose tenants in common for their deeds together.)

Tenancy by the entireties. This can only be used for people who are legally married. Similar to joint tenants with rights of survivorship, each party owns 100%, so if one passes away the property automatically goes to the other. Unlike with JTWROS, however, if a judgment is entered in court against only one of the owners, it cannot become a lien on the property.

Trust. A trust can also take title to a property. This is typically recorded on the deed as “Jane Smith, Trustee of the Jane Smith Trust dated August 1, 2016.” This can be useful for an older person whose home is their main asset, because they can avoid probate; the successor trustee steps in as the owner upon the person’s death. This has to be done carefully, though, because I have seen people have problems selling their home in a trust because no trust was in legal effect when the property was purchased–or worse, the trust (a document drafted by a lawyer and not filed with the court) cannot be found.

If you’re looking to buy or sell a home, Contact us by email or call the Law Office of Gary Landau at 954-979-6566 for a FREE consultation. Gary Landau personally returns all calls to him.

The Difference Between Arbitration and Mediation

mediation vs arbitrationBoth arbitration and mediation are faster, and typically much less expensive, ways of resolving real-estate and other disputes than going to court. But the two are very different, and there are pros and cons for each. Here is a short primer on the two approaches.


Here the parties submit evidence to the arbitrator, a neutral person who hears all the evidence presented by each party and then renders a binding decision. (If the amount in dispute is small, parties generally advocate for themselves without hiring an attorney.) Both parties must agree in advance to abide by the arbitrator’s finding–something that is sometimes even written into a contract before there ever was a dispute. (Only a few standard real estate contracts contain this clause, although it’s common in contracts between individuals and businesses in some industries.) Arbitration is typically conducted outside of the court system, typically in the offices of the arbitrator. The arbitrator is selected by both parties and the fee is generally shared by each. Because an arbitrator’s ruling cannot be appealed, problems are resolved much more quickly than with a lawsuit.


Mediation is an effort to reach an agreement that satisfies both parties. It is a non-adversarial process, where each party (typically in separate rooms) speaks in confidence to the mediator, who tries to help the parties reach their own resolution to the dispute. In some fields, like divorce, the court requires that mediation be undertaken early in the process; other times mediation is done outside the court system in a mediator’s office. Unlike arbitration, mediation does not result in a binding decision unless a mutually satisfying agreement is reached by the parties; if not, they can still go to litigation. For this reason there is little downside to attempting a resolution via mediation. As with arbitration, the mediator’s fees are generally split by the parties.

The Law Office of Gary Landau offers both mediation and arbitration. Click here to learn more.  Call the office at 954-979-6566 for a FREE consultation. Certified mediator and longtime arbitrator Gary Landau personally returns all calls to him.