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Is Joint Tenancy Right for You?

On Behalf of | Jul 14, 2021 | Probate Litigation |

When someone passes away, friends and family in Waldorf, Maryland are left to not only grieve, but also sort through the difficult process of trying to split property assets. A will can provide guidance, but it typically goes through a lengthy probate court proceeding which can leave things up in the air for months. Joint tenancy is one way to ensure that probate is avoided and the correct people are awarded what they deserve.

What is a joint tenancy?

A joint tenancy is more like a partnership since both people will own the property throughout the remainder of their lives. If one of them dies, then the other party or parties will instantly be awarded control without any need for a will. Joint tenancy can happen when someone signs a deed or title together, such as a married couple buying a house or business partners purchasing a warehouse together. As joint owners, everyone involved in the joint tenancy will reap the benefits of the property along with any bills and expenses.

How can joint tenancy help with estate planning?

While most people typically think of estate planning as sitting down and writing out a will, that can actually make the process longer for survivors. Survivors have to wait for a probate court to rule that the will was legitimate and that they truly have rights to the property. If someone passes away after they formed a joint tenancy, their co-signers can immediately take control after their death.

Downfalls of joint tenancy

While joint tenancy is a great way to plan your estate and ensure the right people stay in control of your property, it can also provide some problems. When you own property in a joint tenancy, it means that your co-owner has just as much control as you, even when you’re alive. If you have a falling out or disagreement, they will still co-own your property. It also makes it impossible to leave any of your property behind for beneficiaries that aren’t listed on the deed.

There are both upsides and problems associated with having a joint tenancy. In many cases, it can help to prevent a probate and insure that beloved family and friends can keep homes and businesses running smoothly. On the other hand, it can turn into a disaster if not carefully considered and done with caution. To decide if a joint tenancy is right for you, you should talk to a lawyer who can look over your case and explain any specific benefits and downfalls of this level of estate planning.