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Types of Tenancy in Massachusetts and Connecticut

When acquiring an interest in real property in Massachusetts and Connecticut, there are several ways to hold a title. It is essential to discuss these differences with us to determine the right fit for your needs.

Sole Tenancy

The most straightforward title is Sole Tenancy. As you may expect, the sole tenancy is where one individual has title to real estate in their name alone. This could apply to people or a corporation as the owner.

Tenancy In Common

Two or more owners may hold the title as Tenants in Common. This type of tenancy allows multiple people to hold different percentage interests in the property. While ownership interests may be unequal, each owner has the right to occupy and use all parts of the property. Tenancy in common is the default form of title for non-married owners in Massachusetts. Barring an agreement to the contrary, each owner can independently dispose of their interest in the property through gift, sale, or inheritance. To transfer the title of the whole property held by tenants in common, each owner must be a party to the contract.  Additionally, a person’s share of property held as Tenants in Common is subject to probate administration upon that person’s death.

Joint Tenancy

Joint Tenants are like Tenants in Common in that multiple individuals hold title to the property; however, with joint tenancy, there is a right of survivorship. That means if one owner passes away, their share automatically passes to the remaining owner(s). As with tenants, each joint tenant must be a party to a contract to transfer title to the whole property.

Tenancy by Entirety

Tenants by the Entirety is available only to legally married couples. In this type of tenancy, each spouse owns the entire property together. This type of tenancy may offer married couples additional liability protection from creditors seeking an attachment against the property. This type of tenancy is also limited to the couples’ primary residence, so it is unsuitable for vacation or rental properties. Unfortunately, this option is no longer available for Connecticut residents.

Choosing a Property Ownership Type

There are several types of property ownership to choose from, each with its benefits and drawbacks. Before you agree on a real estate asset, it’s essential to be fully informed about the legal, tax, and practical implications of the form of property ownership you are considering.

The above information is a brief overview of the different types of tenancy in Massachusetts and Connecticut; however, many nuances exist within each type of tenancy. Personal needs and circumstances will often play an important role in determining the best way to hold a title. Changing needs of a property- owner may also call for a change in how title is held, although any changes will incur additional costs for document preparation and recording fees. Be sure to work closely with your attorney when deciding how to have a title.

Understanding the differences between the types of tenancy in property ownership related to your Estate Plan is a smart move. It allows you to take advantage of both the protection and the benefits each can offer, which means you can choose what works best for you and your loved ones, now and in the future.

The best way to ensure your Estate Plan will fully protect your family and legacy is by being educated on important terminology and understanding what type of property ownership applies to your situation. We’re here to help. Reach out for a free consultation today!


Massachusetts Association of Realtors

Trust & Will

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