Ownership and Title of Property: Same Sex Couples in Kentucky

Same-sex couples often go through legal hoops when dealing with their joint finances.  Owning real estate is no exception to this. If the Supreme Court strikes down the law that defines marriage as the legal union between a man and a woman, some of these obstacles may be removed.

Currently, most states do not recognize same-sex relationships and such couples end up in unique situations when it comes to mortgages and home purchases. The key issue revolves around the title of the property bought by a gay or lesbian couple and the legal procedure to do so.

Owing a property jointly is a big decision for same sex couples and there are two basic options to establish ownership as given below:

1)      Joint Tenancy with the Right of Survivorship

Joint Tenancy involves co-ownership which is a special type of property ownership where two or more people have equal ownership of a property and also have the equal right to keep or dispose of the property. The Right of Survivorship means that if one of the partners dies, the rights to the property go to the surviving partner. The negative side to this arrangement is that a partner cannot sell his or her share and cannot leave his or her share to anyone except the other person or people in the tenancy. If the relationship breaks up, the couple has to sell jointly or one person has to buy the other one out. And if one partner does want to stay, that person needs to qualify for a new mortgage.

2)      Tenants in Common

This is another way that a property can be owned by two or more individuals. With Tenants in Common, there is no limit to the number of people who can hold the title to one piece of real estate. The ownership can be held in equal shares or unequal shares. Upon death, the interest of the deceased co-tenant passes to the co-tenant’s heirs or whoever is designated in the person’s will. To dissolve a Tenants in Common agreement, one or more tenants can always buy out the other tenants. The property can be dissolved and the proceeds distributed among the owners.

When married couples purchase a home they are automatically made Joint Owners with the Right of Survivorship however, issues come in the case of same-sex couples purchasing homes for themselves. The above given options offer some solutions to such problems

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