Joint tenancy questions and concerns are common during the estate planning process. For families who have not transferred their home into a trust or were unable to complete a transfer on death deed, options are still available upon the death of a spouse.
Many married couples who purchase a home form a joint tenancy. This means if one of the spouses dies, the surviving owner will automatically be the sole owner of the property. For many, the surviving joint tenant can file an Affidavit of Identity and Survivorship with the County, along with a Certified Copy of the Death Certificate to transfer ownership to the surviving spouse.
When the surviving spouse or joint tenant passes away, because the property title will be in his or her name alone, the property will not automatically pass to the rightful heirs. As a result, planning is needed to reduce the risk of probate.
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Estate Attorney Jasper Berg