Probate, Estate Planning and Trust Law
Law Offices of Alice A. Salvo  Law Offices of Alice A. Salvo
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Avoiding probate through joint tenancy

Many of the San Fernando Valley clients that we work with here at The Law Offices of Alice A. Salvo are looking to ensure that their estates avoid the probate process at all costs. If probate avoidance is a priority for you as well, you may want to consider the concept of joint tenancy. This simply means sharing ownership of an asset with your spouse.

Section 682.1 of the California Probate Code states that full ownership of any community property owned by you and your spouse will automatically transfer to him or her upon your death, provided that your ownership documents classify the property as such. As for the property that can be listed under joint tenancy, it can include assets such as:

  •          Real estate
  •          Vehicles
  •          Bank accounts
  •          Investment tools

To establish joint ownership, you simply need to list both yours and your spouse’s names on the title as you acquire assets. You can also set up joint tenancy on property that you already own by gifting half-interest in it to your spouse.

While joint tenancy can be an effective tool to avoid probate, there are some things that you should consider before making this decision. First, understand that this doesn’t actually help your estate avoid probate altogether. Rather, it simply puts it off. Once your spouse dies, then the properties held in joint tenancy may still pass on to the probate court.

Next, by gifting ownership to your spouse, you could also be risking the total loss of that ownership share. If you choose to divorce, he or she may take the interest in that share with him or her. You could also lose it due to any debts he or she may have.

You can find more information on avoiding probate by exploring our site.   

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