The information contained herein has been obtained through sources deemed reliable but cannot be guaranteed as to its accuracy. The different ways to take title in Arizona can have serious legal, estate planning and tax consequences. Any information should be obtained through independent verification with a Tax Advisor and/or Real Estate Attorney.
Arizona is a community property state in which a statutory presumption is all property acquired by husband and wife is to be community property. This is one of the more common ways to take title in Arizona. Community property is a method of co-ownership between 2 married persons only. Each spouse owns one half interest in the estate and may devise (will) their half. One spouse cannot partition the property by selling their interest. Both spouses signatures are required to convey or encumber. Upon a death, the estate of the decedent must be “cleared” through probate, affidavit or adjudication. Both halves of the community property are entitled to a, “stepped-up” tax basis as of the date of death.
Joint Tenancy with Right of Survivorship
Joint Tenancy is another method of co-ownership that gives title to the real property to the last survivor. Title to real property can be acquired by two or more individuals. Each joint tenant owns an equal and undivided in the estate, unity of interest. If a married couple acquires title as joint tenants with the right of survivorship, they must specifically accept the joint tenancy to avoid the presumption of community property. No court action is required to, “clear” title upon a death.
Community Property with Right of Survivorship
This form of property ownership gives a married couple ability to hold as husband and wife AND provides for succession outside of probate in the event of the death. One spouse cannot partition the property by selling their interest. No action is required to, “clear” title upon the first death. The estate passes to the surviving spouse outside of probate.
Tenancy in Common
A method of co-ownership where parties do not have survivorship rights and each owns a specific undivided interest in the entire title. Parties need not be married and may be more than two tenants in common. Each tenant in common holds an undivided fractional interest in the estate and it can be disproportionate. e.g. 20% and 80% or maybe 20% and 60% and 20%; etc. and Each share has it’s own tax basis.
Sole and Separate
Real Property owned by a spouse before marriage or any acquired after marriage by gift, devise, descent or specific intent. If a married person acquires title as sole and separate property, his/her spouse must execute a disclaimer deed.