Estate in Severalty: Definition & Examples

Instructor: Tisha Collins Batis

Tisha is a licensed real estate agent in Texas. She holds bachelor's in legal studies and a master's degree in criminal justice.

In this lesson, the definition of estate in severalty will be provided. Examples of estates in severalty will be given to provide the reader with a better understanding of this type of estate.

Defining Estate in Severalty

Keelan owns an estate in severalty, where he lives with his best friend, two children, and three dogs. There is more than one person living in the home, so could it be that Keelan's estate is owned by several people? Fortunately for Keelan, the answer is no. Keelan is the only owner of the estate.

An estate in severalty is an estate that is owned by just one person. It doesn't mean several people own the property, which the name might imply. No one else holds an interest in the property like the owner does. The owner also has all of the obligations to the property.

A Home of Your Own

Keelan has a lot of responsibility riding on his shoulders as the sole owner of his home. He also has many rights. For example, he has the responsibility of keeping the home in good repair, paying the taxes and mortgage, and maintaining insurance on the property. He also has the right to cut down trees, build a storage shed, and replace all the flooring if he wants. While these are not all of the rights and responsibilities as the sole owner, this paints a picture of the situation.

An Estate in Severalty

Keelan had a rough start to adult life. He got married, bought a house with his new wife, and had a couple of children. A few years later, they upgraded to a nicer home together. Unfortunately for Keelan, he and his wife got divorced. He ended up with his two children and his ex-wife took off to Hawaii to live with her new boyfriend.

There were many memories in the house Keelan shared with his wife, so he decided to sell it and buy another house. After months of searching, he found a beautiful home which he quickly put in an offer for. He went through the mortgage approval process by himself, and just a month later sat down to sign the closing documents by himself. The home was his own, which he purchased entirely with his own money. Keelan was the only person responsible for the mortgage, and the only person that had a right to the home. In this case, Keelan had an estate in severalty.

Almost a decade after Keelan purchased his home, he had a major change in his work schedule. The change led to a significantly lower income for Keelan, and the mortgage payments became difficult for him to make. His home had four bedrooms, and since he only had two children, one bedroom was free to rent out. He asked a friend to move in with him as his roommate. Once the friend moved in, Keelan's ownership status did not change. Keelan still had an estate in severalty despite there being another adult living in the home.

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