Property may be purchased by individuals, couples, families, corporations, partners, and investor groups. Vesting in WV refers to how the deed allocates ownership. Here’s a breakdown of the three main types of West Virginia vesting and some examples to explain how they work:
Sole Ownership is property held by a single individual. For example, the law considers property owned by a single man or woman (unmarried or widowed) or not legally married or in a domestic partnership as “sole ownership.”
A married man or woman may have sole ownership. But the property must be his or her sole, separate property in their name alone. And the title company often requires the spouse or domestic partner to specifically “disclaim or relinquish” rights to the property.
The sole individual may dispose of it however they wish.
There are four types of co-ownership:
- Community Property — property owned together by domestic partners or a married person with their spouse. So, that means both partners/spouses must sign all the documentation for the purchase and each owner claims the right to dispose of their half of the property in their will.
- Community Property with Right of Survivorship — a form of vesting held by spouses or domestic partners. While like community property, in this case, the entirety of the property goes to the surviving spouse/domestic partner upon the death of the other.
- Joint Tenancy —the joint tenancy form of vesting concerns property held between two or more individuals who may or may not be married or domestic partners, in equal interest or shares. Joint tenancy also has the “right of survivorship” attached. For example, a brother and sister, or mother and two sons, or four friends could own a home together. When a joint tenant dies, the property automatically passes to the surviving tenant(s). That means that property held in joint tenancy is not subject to being disposed of in a will. Sometimes, there are joint tenants who while married, are not married to each other. In that case, the title company typically requires the consent of the non-owning spouse(s) to consent to the arrangement. The State of West Virginia considers property purchased by two or more individuals to be joint tenancy.
- Tenancy in Common — different from a joint tenancy where each party owns an equal share, tenants in common own undivided fractional shares which may or may not be the same quantity or for the same length of time. For example, in an investment property held by three people in differing amounts, each tenant receives the percentage of income and bears the percentage of expenses matching the percentage of ownership. Each co-tenant has the right to sell, lease, or leave their share in their will without the consent of the other owner(s).
As Trustees of a Trust: A trust is an arrangement where the legal title of the property is granted to a trustee of a trust to be held and managed for the benefit of the persons specified in the trust as its beneficiaries. For example, a trustee could hold and manage property for a minor until they come of age, or a family may place their properties together in trust for the benefit of the surviving family members as a form of protection from probate issues. This is a more complex form of ownership and may include multiple properties, stocks, bonds, and other fiduciary assets.
A Partnership: A partnership is an association of two or more persons who can carry on business for profit as co-owners, as governed by the Uniform Partnership Act. A partnership may hold title to real property in the name of the partnership.
A Corporation: A corporation is a legal entity, created under state law, consisting of one or more shareholders but regarded under law as having an existence and personality separate from such shareholders.
A Limited Liability Companies (LLC): This form of ownership is a legal entity like both a corporation or a partnership. The operating agreement determines how the LLC functions and is taxed. Like the corporation, its existence is separate from its owners.
In cases of corporate, partnership, LLC, or trust ownership, required documents may include corporate articles and bylaws, partnership agreements, LLC operating agreement,s and trust agreements and/or certificates.
The title vesting in WV has important legal consequences. You may wish to consult an attorney to determine the most appropriate form of ownership for your situation.
If you intend to purchase property via a specific vesting arrangement, let us, as your real estate professionals, know. That way any required paperwork and preparations can be included in the process.
Buying property in West Virginia has many benefits. Regardless of how you intend to vest your property, if you’re interested in purchasing a home in Monongalia or surrounding counties, let us know. We’ll help you find the perfect match.
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