Sometimes in life things that first appear simple can, well, end up rather complex. So it is with an often overused and misunderstood form of property title known by its full legal expression as “Joint Tenancy with Rights of Survivorship.”
The subject of joint tenancy was taken up recently by gazette.com, the online version of The Gazette newspaper in Colorado Springs. The article is titled “Money & the Law: Joint tenancy can have unexpected consequences,” and the author notes that elderly parents commonly add an adult child as a “joint owner” on their assets. While the parents’ intentions are good (e.g., to avoid probate), they come with some significant risks and potential for family feuds!
As the article notes, one risk is that of unintentionally disinheriting any children not added as joint tenants. This can cause family quarrels lasting for generations. Another problem not discussed in the article includes subjecting jointly held assets to the divorces, lawsuits, and creditors of each joint owner.
In conclusion, add third parties (e.g., children and friends) as joint tenants to your assets only after consulting with your estate planning attorney. Consider it “legal dynamite” – handle with care.
A better way to hold assets would be in a properly drafted and “funded” Trust.
Have you or your elderly loved ones got your affairs in order by updating your Will and Trust so that your home and cash assets are protected?? There has been many changes in laws and your life that may have impacted your estate plan. Call us for a review!
If you have any questions or would like to schedule a consultation please call Attorney Patrick Kelleher at 781-871-PLAN (7526) or by email at Pat@myfamilylifeplan.com
Our firm helps families taking care of them for life. We not only “create” their Will and Trust, but we “maintain it and keep it updated” for them throughout their life! The meter is not running for our ‘Client Care Plan’ members!
Patrick J. Kelleher is a South Shore, MA resident and estate planning attorney serving and protecting families and businesses in the South Shore, MA area. For more information on estate planning visit our firm’s website at www.MyFamilyLifePlan.com where you can check out our Blog, free Newsletter library, free Estate Planning Channel on Youtube and sign up for a Free e-Newsletter!
Also serving the following communities South of Boston; Quincy, Milton, Braintree, Randolph, Holbrook, Weymouth, Scituate, Norwell, Hingham, Cohasset, Hull, Hanover, Pembroke, Duxbury, Marshfield, Plymouth, Rockland, Hanson, Halifax, Plympton, Carver, Abington, Whitman, Kingston
This article is not intended to provide legal or tax advice or create or imply an attorney-client relationship. No information contained herein is a substitute for a personal consultation with an attorney.
Reference: The Gazette (December 16, 2012) “Money & the Law: Joint tenancy can have unexpected consequences”