There are various different ways that you can arrange for your property to be transferred after you pass away. Some of the methods can seem simple and straightforward, and that can be appealing. At the same time, you should consider all of the facts before you make any final decisions based on conversations that you have had around the water cooler as it were.
With the above in mind, we will look at joint tenancy with right of survivorship in this blog post.
Co-Ownership of Property
If you are in possession of property, you can add a co-owner to the title or deed. This condition is called joint tenancy in legal parlance.
To provide an example, let’s say that you add your daughter to the title of your home. She would become a joint tenant right away. Assuming you predecease your daughter, she would become the sole owner of the property after you are gone through right of survivorship.
A positive to this arrangement would be the fact that the transfer would not be subject to the probate process. Probate is the legal process of estate administration, and it can be time-consuming and costly.
However, there are some negatives, and some limitations that go along with joint tenancy. One of the drawbacks would be the fact that the joint tenant that you add would own half of the property as soon as you add her to the deed or title.
Using our example, if your daughter was to run into any type of legal or financial problems, the portion of the property that she owned would be in play if there were judgments or liens. Plus, if you wanted to sell the property, you would have to work in cooperation with your daughter.
In some cases, someone will add a joint tenant, and they instruct the joint tenant to sell the property and distribute the proceeds in a certain way. From a legal perspective, the surviving joint tenant would not be compelled to follow these instructions, and the joint tenant could have different ideas.
Comprehensive, Personalized Planning
Easy answers are hard to come by when it comes to complicated subjects. Joint tenancy can sound great on the surface, but as you can see, there are reasons why you may want to take pause before you buy into this so-called simple solution.
Estate planning is an important responsibility, and it is profound, because you are going to be transferring everything that you have accumulated throughout your life to the people that you love the most. Given the high stakes, you should understand all of your options, and you should certainly act in a fully informed manner.
Our firm can help if you would like to gain an understanding of your options. We offer free seminars on an ongoing basis, and you can visit the following page to see the schedule: Naples FL Estate Planning.