I recently saw an article on this in Florida Trends magazine of the Florida Association of Realtors and it is something I came across just a few months back. I was working with a foreign buyer and I asked them how they would be taking title. They own a property her in Florida but it was evident that they were not familiar with Florida and US Law. In there country NO ONE has a will. This sounds crazy to us in the US but in their country the law dictates who gets what and thus no has a will because the government has already decided the issue. I told them that sure they can buy a property here as no one will turn down their money but the issue will come up when the heirs try to sell the property and at that time they will have to probate the US assets and since there’s no will it would be a real pain in the #$@. Anyway, I advised them to seek the counsel of a local real estate attorney to both determine
A foreign national take title as ‘John Doe and Jane Doe’ and if they are married at the time of taking title then they are ASSUMED to be taking title as Husband and Wife where the surviving spouse would have right of survivorship in the property without going through probate. So if the husband dies it’s will not be easy but in the end I think the wife would be able to sell the property. She would have to prove that the two parties were married at the time of the purchase and that the spouse has passed. If they both die or the surviving spouse dies still owning the property then this is a problem for the heirs as it must be probated.
A foreign national take title as ‘John Doe and Jane Doe’ and if they are NOT married at the time of taking title then they are ASSUMED to be taking title as Tenants in Common where the surviving person named on the deed noes NOT have right of survivorship in the property without going through probate. Each party owns a 1/2 non-divisible interest in the property which may be sold sold, encumbered, devised etc.
A foreign national take title as ‘John Doe and Jane Doe as Joint Tenants with Rights of Survivorship’ and now the surviving party does not need to prove that they are married at the time of taking title only that the other party named on the deed has passed. So if the co-owner dies the other party may sell the property. Again, the Title Agent will have a few hoops to jump through but it should be achievable.
In any circumstance the party will need to comply with the Foreign Investors in Real Property Tax Act or FIRPTA.
These are some broad strokes on this subject so MY BEST ADVICE IS TO ASSUME NOTHING AND CONSULT AN ATTORNEY.