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What is joint tenancy and how does it impact your estate plan?

On Behalf of | Feb 28, 2022 | Estate Planning |

Most people wonder whether they should create an estate plan or not. However, pretty much everyone appreciates that having an estate plan simplifies estate administration while ensuring that your assets go to the right people when you pass on. 

One of the most common approaches you can use to realize your estate planning goals is by putting certain assets under the joint tenancy ownership. This is an arrangement where two or more individuals own an asset, a business or property. Each party in a joint tenancy arrangement has an equal interest in the property.

Joint tenancy with the right to survivorship

When you pass on, your assets will be frozen until the probate court decides how they will be distributed. If you had a will, the probate court will validate its authenticity and distribute your assets based on your wishes. However, if you die without a will (intestate), the probate court will distribute your assets in line with New York’s intestacy law

However, thanks to the right to survivorship clause, a joint tenancy can meet the estate planning goal of ensuring that your assets go to the right people when you pass on. This is because assets held in joint tenancy with the right to survivorship are automatically passed on to the surviving owners upon one party’s death – no will or trust required. Most often, the surviving party may only need to present a death certificate to prove their claim to the jointly held property. 

Joint tenancy can help you simplify certain aspects of your estate plan by placing certain assets under this arrangement. Find out how you can use joint tenancy to minimize the cost of probate.