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Common Ways to Hold Title in Tennessee

When it comes to real property ownership in Tennessee, there are several ways to hold title, each with its own advantages and limitations. Whether you're a sole owner or co-owner, understanding these different forms of ownership is crucial. In this article, we'll dive into the various ways title can be held in the state of Tennessee.

Sole Ownership:

Individual Ownership:

If you're an unmarried individual, you can hold title in your name alone. For instance, "John Doe, a single man," would be an example of this form of ownership.

Unmarried Individuals:

Individuals who were once married but are now legally divorced can hold title on their own. For example, "John Doe, an unmarried man," is a way to hold title in this scenario.

Married Individuals as Separate Property:

When a married person wants to acquire property as their sole and separate ownership, the spouse must provide consent and relinquish any rights. This is often achieved through a deed or written agreement. An example would be "John Doe, a married man, as his sole and separate property."


Tenants by The Entirety

Property acquired by a husband and wife during their marriage, which would be as: John Doe and wife, Mary Doe, thus creating survivorship where the property passes to the survivor on the deed when the other spouse dies.

Tenancy in Common:

Co-owners hold undivided interests in the property, with the interests not necessarily being equal. Unlike joint tenancy, there is no right of survivorship, and each tenant's interest passes to their heirs or devisees upon their death. "John Doe, a single man, as to an undivided ¾ interest, and George Smith, a single man, as to an undivided 1/4 interest, as tenants in common" illustrates this arrangement.


Holding title in trust is another option. The trustee, who is responsible for managing the trust, holds the title for the benefit of the trustor/beneficiary.

It's important to note that the examples mentioned above are only a few of the common ways to hold title to real property in Tennessee. Depending on your circumstances, there can be significant tax and legal implications associated with your choice of ownership. We strongly advise seeking advice from a qualified attorney and/or CPA to determine the best approach for your situation.


Understanding the various ways to hold title in Tennessee is essential for anyone looking to own real property. Each form of ownership has its advantages and limitations, and seeking expert advice can help you navigate the legal and financial landscape effectively. Don't hesitate to reach out to professionals who can provide personalized guidance based on your unique circumstances.


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