People sometimes hear bits and pieces about estate planning and they make important decisions based on incomplete information. This can be a huge mistake that comes back to yield negative consequences, and these circumstances often stem from misguided probate avoidance notions.
Probate is a legal process that enters the picture if you use a last will to state your wishes with regard to the distribution of your directly held personal property. It allows for creditors to seek satisfaction from the estate before it is passed along to the heirs, and this is only fair.
Interested parties would have an opportunity to challenge the validity of the will during this interim as well, which is another safeguard that serves a purpose. However, in the big picture, the process is not necessarily positive for the rightful heirs to an estate.
There are expenses that accumulate during probate, and this reduces the value of the estate, and it is a time-consuming process. It is also a public proceeding, so anyone that is interested can find out how the resources were distributed.
Joint Tenancy With Right of Survivorship
Joint tenancy is a good example of the “little bit of knowledge is dangerous” phenomenon. This is the condition that would exist if you add a co-owner to the title or deed of your home. It comes with right of survivorship, so after the death of one joint tenant, the property would pass to the surviving joint tenant in its entirety outside of probate.
What could possibly go wrong with this arrangement?
If you do in fact put another person on your title or deed as a joint tenant, this individual would own half of the property immediately. As a result, that portion of the property could be attached if the joint tenant was ever the subject of a legal judgment of some kind. It would also be in play during divorce proceedings.
This is a major risk to take, because anyone could potentially get into financial or tax trouble or make a momentary mistake behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. And of course, a very significant percentage of marriages do not withstand the test of time.
As you can see, you are taking a big chance if you go this route, and there is really no reason to do so, because there are safer actions that you can take to facilitate the same result.
If you would like to obtain more detailed information on the subject, download our special report. It is being offered free of charge, and you can click this link to get to the page: Free Report on Joint Tenancy.
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