By default, the couple owns the property as a condominium with no right of reversion. If the couple wishes to retain the property as a joint property with right of survival, the couple must sign, in addition to the deed, a community contract on the survival of the property. The agreement relating to the survivors of the common property should be registered with the deed in the land registers of the county where the property is located. It is rare for a title company to offer co-owners the opportunity to accept the JTWROS title. When buyers arrive at a title company to close, they often receive a minimalist document that does not contain additional clauses that are favorable or tailor-made to them, unless their own lawyer has negotiated in advance the inclusion of such clauses. This is unfortunate, because a warranty certificate is qualitatively different from the routine forms and advertisements that title companies also produce. It is the only document that attests to the ownership of the property and can also set important conditions under which the seller sells and the buyer buys. This is far more important than, say, a disclosure of the MUD. And yet, too many buyers and sellers of investors say, “Just let the title company prepare the deed” and give up any opportunity to learn about its contents. A missed opportunity, to say the least.
The easiest way to reach JTWROS is to recite the language in the document that explains survival rights. In order to clearly indicate the intention of the parties on the front of the deed, this language should be included at the time when both spouses receive their interest in the property. An example of a grantee clause that creates a joint lease agreement is “John Smith and his wife Mary Smith as co-owners with survival rights, pursuant to Section 112.051 of the Code of Estates, not as a common tenant.” The deed should also specify that the intention and agreement of the co-owners is to conclude an agreement on the absence of spouses. In order to meet the requirement that the agreement must be signed by both husband and wife, both spouses (i.e. both fellows) should sign and acknowledge the deed. We believe this satisfies section 112.051. The way it works is that the owner (dealer) has prepared a document that passes the property on to someone else (scholarship holder) when the owner dies. The licensor has the right to live from good to death and to use it. In the event of the death of the grantor, the land automatically returns to the fellow. Once the estate is established for life, the licensor generally cannot sell the property without the agreement of the other person. This kind of act should only be prepared by a lawyer.
Note that if the property is currently owned by two people as joint tenants, they may convert them into a joint lease through a survival agreement in accordance with section 111.001(a) or section 112.051 of the Estates Act (depending on whether or not the property is common property). However, this method does not physically change the guarantee deed, and many people look for precisely this – a single title document that indicates both names and clearly shows their viability. Mr. Premack, I read your previous columns on survival agreements on community property survival agreements, and this seems to be something that would be good for my wife and I.