When I draft a real estate contract, I always insert “as _______________” after the purchasers’ names. There are different ways that more than one buyer can take title, whether as Tenants by the Entirety (the designation for a married couple taking title together), Joint Tenants with Rights of Survivorship (two or more unmarried persons sharing indivisible ownership), or Tenants in Common (two or more unmarried persons who own together but may act apart). It’s not my job to select the form of ownership for the other side.
Recently, a colleague semi-mocked my blank. “Can’t you see that that ‘Mary Mack and Martin Mack’ have the same name?” he wondered. “Why wouldn’t you just designate them as ‘Tenants by the Entirety’?”
The snarky answer would be, “I just want to make you work harder by filling in the blanks.”
However, the nicer part of me prevailed, so I replied, “I don’t know your clients. Martin could be Mary’s brother. Or her father. Or her cousin. Or a business partner who coincidentally has the same last name.”
To his credit, he gave out a low whistle and laughed. “Come to think of it, I just assumed they were a couple. Maybe what they say about assuming is true!”