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Common Title Options for Illinois Property Owners

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By: Matthew B. Rich

In Illinois, property owners can take title to the property by virtue of the deed recorded at closing.  Careful thought should be given to the advantages of certain options.

Individually – An individual takes title to the property in his or her own name.  At the death of the individual, the property passes pursuant to the person’s estate plan (if they have one), and if not, or the state’s intestate succession (no will or trust) rules.

Tenants in Common – Two individuals take property in their own names and upon the death of one of the individuals, title to the property passes according to their estate(if they have one), and if not, or the state’s intestate succession (no will or trust) rules.

Joint Tenancy – Two individuals take title to the property in their own names.  Upon the death of one of the individuals, title passes to the surviving title holder automatically.  If both individuals pass away, title passes to the last to die’s estate(if they have one), and if not, or the state’s intestate succession (no will or trust) rules

Tenants by the Entirety  – Married couples can take title as joint tenants with added protection from creditors, for residential property in which they reside.  In this tenancy, each spouse’s individual creditors cannot attach the marital residence because the residence is owned by the marriage.  However, joint creditors of the couple can seek relief against the property.  This is the typical way for a married couple to take title.  Upon the death of one of the individuals, title passes to the surviving title holder automatically.  If both individuals pass away, title passes to the last to die’s estate (if they have one), and if not, or the state’s intestate succession (no will or trust) rules.

Tenancy Agreement – For joint tenants or tenants in common, we can draft a tenancy agreement that dictates what will occur upon the breakup of the titleholders or in the event of death or other controversy.  Tenancy agreements can play an important role for couples planning to marry or even for business associates taking title in their individual names.

Land Trust (Privacy Trust)- Some purchasers want their ownership to be kept secret (off the public records).   They require privacy and do not want their names to be on the public record with the county recorder’s office.  Some purchasers are worried about asset protection and the flexibility of assigning beneficiaries at their death.  We can draft a land trust agreement to meet clients’ privacy or other objectives.

Entity – We can form a limited liability company (LLC) or corporation to take title to investment property to limit individual liability, allow for partner shares, and greater flexibility in accounting.

Matthew B. Rich concentrates his practice in real estate law, serving individuals buying and selling homes, condominiums, and investments as well as builders and developers. Matt provides counsel to these clients in areas including residential and commercial transactions, condominium development and association matters, zoning/land use, leasing and landlord tenant matters. The firm offers a host of legal services, please visit www.myreallaw.com for details. Matt can be contacted at mrich@myreallaw.com,

Office: 847-424-1005 x 2 | Cell: 312-420-0827