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Author: 2gifts Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 127236  
Subject: Re: modern advice? Date: 9/13/2013 1:33 PM
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If the OP spends "several thousand dollars" to figure out how to purchase as tenants in common, well, something's radically wrong.

The money spent on attorneys is not so that they title the house correctly. It is so that they can protect themselves in case something happens, and that something can be that they broke up, that one of them gets sued putting the house at risk, that one of them dies without a will and if they have followed your advice to buy as tenants in common, which I'm not thinking is what they want anyhow, then the house will be inherited by someone other than the other co-owner because of the intestate laws in their state.

Further, I would think they'd want to be thinking about titling the house as JTWROS, which does not require that they be married, but at the very least, would allow each of them to inherit the house should the other one pass.

I have owned property with my brother, and we did choose to own as tenants in common precisely because we each wanted to be able to leave our half to our own heirs and not to each other. And even though we agreed on everything around the house, we did spend money on an attorney to have an agreement drawn up about all the issues we'd have to consider about the house. In our case, we were motivated because our parents lived in the house, and we wanted an agreement that would outlive us and be binding on the heirs so that my parents couldn't be kicked out of the house.

If the OP and his SO choose to buy this house without being married, I would highly recommend seeing an attorney to have an agreement drawn up so that everything is spelled out. They will most likely not need it, but I have known too many couples who bought a house prior to getting married and then broke up, and in all cases, it was a mess. That said, I'd be just as concerned about one of them dying or getting sued, and would want to do as much as I could to protect the asset and each other from ending up without a place to live if something bad happens.

But at the very least, the OP needs to consider how the property should be titled, as they can either have tenants in common or joints tenants with rights of survivorship. If they were married and lived in a state that allowed it, then they'd also have the choice of tenants by entirety, which is what we have used here in MA, and which has another set of advantages.
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