Understanding Joint Tenancy
In California, if you own property as a joint tenant with another person, when either party dies, all rights, title and interest in the property immediately pass to the surviving joint tenant by operation of law. This can be an effective way to pass property without the time and expense associated with the probate process. To effectively use joint tenancy as a California estate planning tool, you want to work closely with an experienced lawyer, someone who knows the steps you need to take to protect your interests.
At my firm — the Law Office of Barbara J. Dibble — I provide sound estate planning counsel to individuals in and around Fullerton. The hallmark of my practice is my commitment to listen. I will take all the time necessary to learn the details of your situation, so that I can take the measures necessary to protect your interests. I seek to build long-term relationships based on trust and communication.
Help Deciphering The Tax Consequences And What Is In Your Best Interest
To set up a joint tenancy, you may need to prepare and execute specific legal documents. You can also end up paying more capital gains tax upon the sale of property, so you want to work with an attorney who will identify all the advantages and disadvantages of holding title as a joint tenant as opposed to holding title in other ways.
When you hire me to help you determine whether setting up a joint tenancy is in your best interest, I will carefully examine all the facts and circumstances. There are situations where a joint tenancy will be best for you, but you may also want to consider setting up a trust, which can also help you avoid probate. Some concerns you may have regarding the use of joint tenancy include:
- Taking on the liability of the other joint tenant — In a joint tenancy, each party is potentially liable for debts of other joint tenants. If you add a child on title to your property as a joint tenant and the child gets divorced or has a judgment against him or her, your property could be seized to satisfy the judgment.
- Unintentionally disinheriting certain parties — If you have a joint tenancy between spouses, problems can arise when there are stepchildren or second marriages.
Your Solutions Start With A Free Consultation
For a free initial consultation with an experienced Orange County, California, joint asset lawyer, contact me online or call my office at 714-515-5126. I am available evenings or weekends upon request. I will travel to meet with you, if necessary.