Deeds and Title

Ownership and Deeds in Tennessee

Every state is slightly different in its laws regarding property ownership. Knowing the basics of property law generally in the United States can go a long way. However, as you buy and sell properties in a state, knowing that market’s specific laws and preferences can help to set expectations and make your transactions move forward more smoothly. 

In this article, we walk through some of the key ownership considerations in Tennessee.

Types of Ownership in Tennessee

Tennessee recognizes four basic types of ownership: sole ownership, tenancy by the entirety, joint tenants, and tenants in common. 

Sole Ownership in Tennessee

In this type of ownership, one individual or entity owns the property completely with no other tenants. 

Tennessee does not recognize community property, homestead, or dower and curtesy. This means that spouses can buy, sell, or own property without the involvement of the non-owner spouse. The only exception to this is when using a deed of trust. A non-owner spouse would need to sign any deed of trust other than a purchase money deed of trust. 

Tenant by the Entirety in Tennessee

This is a form of ownership specifically created for spouses. In Tennessee, spouses may own property by the entirety, which functions like a joint tenancy in that the surviving spouse will immediately take ownership of the property upon the death of the other spouse. Unless expressly stated otherwise in the deed. Tennessee presumes spouses intended to hold property in a tenancy by the entirety if no other tenancy is designated on the deed.

Joint Tenants in Tennessee

Tennessee recognizes joint tenancy with right of survivorship as a common form of joint ownership for non-spouses. This form allows multiple people or entities to own a title interest to the property, and comes with various rights and responsibilities. In particular, joint tenancies with right of survivorship involve all parties having equal ownership and the right to assume another owner’s interest in the event the other owner dies. 

Tenancy in Common in Tennessee

Tennessee also recognizes tenancy in common as a form of co-ownership for non-spouses. Tenancy in common allows multiple owners to own title in a property, but rather than owning equally, the owners can set varying ownership percentages. For example, one owner could own 51% of the property, with the other owning 49%. Additionally, an owner’s share would pass to the owner’s heirs upon death, rather than passing to the other tenants in common.

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Types of Deeds in Tennessee

The most common deed form in Tennessee is the warranty deed. Warranty deeds provide a form of protection to the buyer in the form of a warranty by the seller that guarantees no issues with the title. Limited warranty deeds are also available and provide a guarantee that the seller has not done anything to affect the title during the time the seller has owned the property. Quitclaim deeds are insurable in Tennessee as well. 


Knowing how a property is typically conveyed in a state, and what types of ownership are available for the title can go a long way to ensuring a smooth transaction. 

Tennessee’s laws and document customs are fairly standard for common law states. Understanding deeds of trust and the marital rights involved can be helpful, but in general, the basics go a long way in Tennessee. 

*The information provided on this site does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal, financial, tax, or real estate advice. Please consult your expert for advice in those areas. All content is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to provide a complete description of the subject matter. Although Blueprint provides information it believes to be accurate, Blueprint makes no representations or warranties about the accuracy or completeness of the information contained on this site. Specific processes will vary based on applicable law. The title and closing process will be handled by a third-party attorney to the extent required by law. Product offerings vary by jurisdiction and are not available or solicited in any state where we are not licensed.