Often times when two unmarried people buy real estate together their attorney will recommend that they hold title “jointly.” This means that they will both show up in the county records as “owner of record” and the entire world will know that they are the big bad owners of the property in question.

By now you know that we do not recommend that people hold title to their real estate in their own name or jointly (we recommend the Illinois Type Land Trust as title holder). One of the many reasons to use a Land Trust is to avoid the Right of Partition that joint title holders have. In other words, if a joint title holder (two or more persons or entities) share ownership of real estate, any one of the owners can at any time demand partition; i.e. to sell the real estate and divide the proceeds.

Real estate that is held in a Land Trust cannot be partitioned. The beneficiaries do not have the right of partition. However, unless restricted in the beneficiaries’ agreement, a beneficiary could sell his/her/its beneficial interest to another party without authorization from the other beneficiaries. Consequently, we do not advise being a joint beneficiary either. Future postings will address the other reasons not to be a co-beneficiary.

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