Joint Tenancy
- Not a Will or Trust Substitute

Joint tenancy may be a good tactic to title your property for a married couple, but to rely on joint tenancy ownership for estate planning is usually a poor idea. Usually a home is owned by a married couple as joint tenants. Upon the death of the first joint tenant, the property passes to the survivor by law. However, if real property is held in joint tenancy, an affidavit must be filed at the courthouse in order to terminate the joint tenancy. Your attorney can advise you on this procedure. Then there is the issue of how the property will pass when the surviving joint tenant dies. It is rarely if ever advisable to create a joint tenancy with someone other than your spouse.

There are creditor and tax hazards in such joint tenancies as well as other possible complications and expenses.

An attorney can advise you as to whether the use of joint tenancy outside of marriage is appropriate. Joint tenancy is simply not an adequate substitute for a will or a trust in most cases.