Same Sex Home Buying- Part 1

Posted by Home Buying Made Simple on Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Here is my first blog! Hope you find it informative.

Buying a home is a major responsibility for any couple, but same-sex couples must be especially meticulous to make sure their investment and their interests are protected.  This is due in part to inconsistent marriage laws in America and because of varying laws handling the disposition of a property with multiple owners.  Purchasing a home with your partner is an exciting time in both of your lives, but it is absolutely imperative that you plan ahead so that you can avoid potentially serious financial and emotional stress in the future. 

Planning for the Inevitable

It is inevitable that a partnership will end, either by death or divorce.  All couples (not just same sex couples) need to establish the appropriate type of ownership for their particular situation.  The means of ownership will determine what happens to a home when one of the partners dies.  Property laws vary greatly from state to state, so it is advisable to speak with a property lawyer in order to understand your options.  

• Joint Tenancy with Rights of Survivorship (JTWROS)

In the case of a joint account, on the death of one account holder ownership of the account assets is transferred to the remaining account holder. Filing for (JTWROS) is crucial if the dying partner wishes to relinquish all of his or her assets to the surviving partner. If this action is not taken, the family of the deceased will, by law, become the rightful owner(s) of the property/assets along with the surviving partner.  Overall, this is the best option for same sex couples that wish to leave their assets to their partner.

• Tenants in Common

 In the case of tenants in common, each partner owns a percentage of the property.  The shares do not need to be split evenly, especially if one partner makes more money than the other and is investing more of his or her money into the property. However, if one of the partners dies, their share will not go to the surviving partner. This method is not suggested for same sex couples that wish to relinquish their assets to the survivor.

• Tenancy by the Entirety

A majority of the states do not offer this option to same sex couples because they don’t recognize same sex marriage. Tenancy by the entirety allows both partners to own 100% of the property equally as if they were purchasing the property as one person. If one partner dies, the property remains with the survivor.


Check out The Total Mortgage Guide page for interesting tidbits on other subjects!


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