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Will You Hold Your Colorado Land Title as Tenants In Common Or Joint Tenants?

Are you about to buy land in Colorado with a friend, business partner, or family member? Before signing the purchase agreement, consider how you will hold your title as co-owner of your new property.
In Colorado, land titles with co-owners can either be held as tenants in common or as joint tenants. It is important to know the difference between the two ways to co-own property and what consequences you may have if one owner exits ownership either voluntary or involuntary.
Tenancy In Common
If not stated in the title, Colorado law defaults to tenants in common.
Tenants in common means that any two or more persons or entities will own their percentage of the divided interest in the property. The split percentage of an individual person or entity can be transferred through a sale or inheritance.

In a tenants in common situation, each co-owner can take possession of the entire property. Each co-owner can transfer their own interest in the property without the other co-owner(s) consent.

Buyers entering tenants in common land purchases should consult a professional that can guide them on how to clearly define operating agreements on what should happen when one or more of the people or entities end their ownership of the property such as in cases of death, bankruptcy, etc.
Joint Tenancy
Joint tenancy must be explicitly stated in the deed "as joint tenants with right of survivorship" or simply "JTWROS".
Joint tenancy automatically conveys interest of the property in the case of death of one or more of the co-owners. LLCs and trusts cannot enter into joint tenancy since ownership is terminated at death. Probate is not required for joint tenancy and proof of death (a death certificate) should be filed with the county records to prove that the interest in the deceases party has transferred to the remaining owner(s).

When one owner wants to transfer ownership in their interest in the property without consent from the other joint tenants, then joint tenancy is often severed.  Severing joint tenancy can occur through a sale, bankruptcy, divorce and other situations and will often result in the property being owned with the new owners as tenants in common. In some joint tenancy situations with three or more co-owners one person severing joint tenancy can cause their ownership of the property to fall under tenants in common, but the remaining owners to still own their percentage as joint tenants.

The rules can become complex for either joint tenants or tenants in common, so it is important to consult with a legal professional when making those decisions.
Disclaimer: This article is not meant to be legal advice. Please consult a professional when questions arise regarding how to hold your raw land.
- The LandSideKick
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