Estate Planning Academy Episode 16: Joint Tenancy
This article by Attorney Gary DeWitt, practicing in estate planning, probate, guardianship, and elder law.
- Joint tenancy is often though of as putting somebody else on the deed with you
- Magic Language – “as joint tenants with the right of survivorship” OR “husband and wife”
- Each person has equal access to the property
- Avoids probate as to the people on the deed
Problems with Joint Tenancy
- Only delays probate
- Causes Medicaid qualification problems
- If both tenants pass at same time, two probates may be required to clear the title
- When blended families are involved, with children from previous marriages, here’s what could happen: the husband passes then the wife becomes the owner of the property. When the wife dies, the property goes to her children, leaving nothing for the husband’s children.
- It takes all owners to sign the deed and contract for sale of the property.
- When you place a non-spouse on your property as a joint tenant, you make a gift of property every time that joint tenant takes property out of the account.
- For example, when a mother retitles her $80,000 account in Joint Tenancy with her son, she makes a gift to her son every time he makes withdrawals. This may not be the most efficient use of her $14,000 annual exclusion.
- The main point is that the gift is unintentional and not carefully planned