A Boutique Trusts & Estates Law Firm

Owning Property as an Unmarried Couple

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

The traditional progression of a relationship is marriage then homeownership. However, many couples are postponing marriage and purchasing property together first. Owning joint property before marriage can cause problems down the road if the couple does not plan ahead with the assistance of a knowledgeable attorney.

If you are considering buying property with your significant other prior to marriage there are several issues you both must be ready to tackle.

The first is how are you going to title the property? As an unmarried couple, you have two options, tenants-in-common or joint tenants with right of survivorship. As tenants-in-common you can each own unequal portions of the property, but if one owner dies, their portion of the property passes through intestacy (to their parents, siblings, or others as described by state law) or to beneficiaries under their will. If you choose to own property as joint tenants, each party owns an equal portion of the property and if one owner dies, his or her portion of the property passes to the other owner (the right of survivorship). Deciding whether joint tenancy or a tenants-in-common arrangement will be best for you will depend on your unique situation as a couple.

Cohabitation agreements are a great way to put your intentions in writing. Through this contract, a couple can state which expenses each person is responsible for and how the property will be divided if the couple separates during the time they own the property. Another question that can be addressed in the property agreement is what to do if one party becomes disabled or otherwise cannot work and is unable to contribute the full amount toward the expenses of the home. Without a cohabitation agreement, if one party wishes to remain in the home, a judicial action to partition the property can be costly. It is best that each party have his or her own attorney review and approve the cohabitation agreement.

Creating or updating your estate planning documents will also help you and your significant other divide your home and its contents in the event of one of your deaths. If you choose to title your property as tenants-in-common, you can give your property to the co-owner through a Will or a trust. While a joint tenancy gives the co-owner the sole title to your home if your significant other passes away, it does not include the items of tangible personal property inside. A Will or a trust gives each partner the ability to state how their tangible personal property should be distributed in the event of their death.

Remember, you are never too young or too old to plan for the future of those you love.

Frankel Sims Law

A common sense approach to complex legal issues


For Immediate Release

Contact: Jane Frankel Sims


Contact: Frank Campbell


Sims & Campbell Estates and Trusts

Frankel Sims Law and Holden & Campbell
Merge to Form Sims & Campbell

Firm will offer comprehensive Trusts & Estates services through offices in Towson and Annapolis

TOWSON, Md. (April 26,2019)  Frankel Sims Law and Holden & Campbell have jointly announced the merger of their firms to create a boutique Trusts & Estates law firm providing comprehensive services in the fields of Estate Planning, Estate Administration, Trust Administration and Charitable Giving. The combined firm will be named Sims & Campbell and have offices in Towson, Md. and Annapolis, Md.  Jane Frankel Sims and Frank Campbell will lead and hold equal ownership stakes in the firm.

Sims & Campbell will have 9 attorneys and 15 legal professionals that handle every facet of estate and wealth transfer planning, including wills, revocable living trusts, irrevocable trusts, estate and gift tax advice, and charitable giving strategies.  The firm will focus solely on Trusts & Estates but will serve a wide range of clients, from young families with modest resources to ultra-high net worth individuals.  This allows clients to remain with the firm as their level of wealth and the complexity of related estate and tax implications change over time. 

“By joining forces, we have expanded our footprint to conveniently serve clients in Maryland, D.C. and Virginia” said Jane Frankel Sims.  We are seeing some of the greatest wealth transfer in our country’s history, and we want to continue to be on the leading edge of helping our clients maintain and enhance their family’s wealth.  In addition, we aim to serve our clients for years to come, and the new firm structure will allow Sims & Campbell to thrive even after Frank and I have retired.”    

“Jane and I have always admired each other’s firms and recognized the need to provide even greater depth and breadth of focused expertise to help families amass and protect their wealth from generation to generation,” said Frank Campbell.  “Now we have even greater capabilities to make a real difference for our clients.” 

The Sims & Campbell Towson office is located at 500 York Road, on the corner of York Road and Pennsylvania Avenue in the heart of Towson.  The Annapolis office is currently located at 716 Melvin Avenue, and is moving to 181 Truman Parkway in August, 2019.  For more information, visit www.simscampbell.law.