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Understanding "tenants in common"

While some Ohio residents may not encounter any difficulties creating a will, others may face several challenges with the task. For example, family members who become joint owners of a property that is left to them in a will can experience troubles if they disagree on how a property should be managed. These conflicts can become complex, especially when the property's co-owners are tenants in common.

The legal term "tenants in common," also known as tenancy in common, does not reference renting or leasing. Instead, the term refers to a form of joint property ownership. While the co-owners may be able to work out the plan on paper, difficulties often arise if the various co-owners disagree on how to use the property. For example, one owner may wish to turn the land into a pasture for animals while the other owner might want to use it to produce soybeans.

Therefore, all the co-owners of the property, who each have a full right to possess the property, must unanimously agree on how it will be used. Even if there is a majority vote among the owners, just one owner's veto could override any other owner's use for the property. As a result, co-owners who cannot agree unanimously face a bitter deadlock.

When it comes to estate planning, leaving behind large assets, such as a family-owned business, farm or ranch can involve complexities that could lead to feuding among beneficiaries. To help prevent this scenario from occurring, an estate holder might consider speaking with an attorney who could assist them with their particular long-term estate planning goals. The attorney could also help individuals to set up trust agreements and show them how they could reduce their estate taxes and avoid probate.

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