Co-Ownership of Property
If you own property, you could choose to add a co-owner to the title or deed of the property. This person would become a joint tenant in legal parlance.
To provide a simple example, let’s assume that you own your home outright. You want your son to inherit your home after you pass away, so you add him to the title as a joint tenant.
Property that is held in joint tenancy would be transferred to the surviving joint tenant after the passing of the other joint tenant, assuming there were just two co-owners. It is possible to add multiple joint tenants to your property if this is your choice.
Using our example, if you make your son the sole joint tenant, your son would inherit the entirety of the property after your death.
Why would you want to consider joint tenancy when you could simply leave the home to your son in your last will? The answer is that your son would not inherit the property right away if you arrange for its transfer through the terms of your last will.
After your passing, the will would be admitted to probate by the executor. Probate is a legal process, and it takes place under the supervision of a court.
This process would take close to a year, even if the case is simple and straightforward. As a result, your son would have to wait out the process before he could inherit the home.
Property that is held in joint tenancy would pass to the surviving joint tenant outside of probate.
Drawbacks of Joint Tenancy
Joint tenancy can sound appealing when you first hear about it, but there is something important to take into consideration. The joint tenant would own half of the property as soon as you change the title.
As a result, if the joint tenant was to run into legal or financial problems, the portion of the property that is owned by the joint tenant could be subject to attachment.
In addition to this, you would need the cooperation of the joint tenant if you wanted to sell the property in its entirety.
Learn More About Joint Tenancy
We have assembled a library of electronic special reports that we house on this website. These reports cover multiple different estate planning and elder law topics.
There is a report in this library that is devoted to the subject of joint tenancy. If you would like to learn more, visit this page to access your copy: Joint Tenancy Report.
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