Have you ever encountered a solution that seemed so simple at first, only to later realize it was as complex as could be? Been there, done that. This scenario of confusion is not lost of those who have tangled with “Joint Tenancy with Rights of Survivorship.”
The subject of joint tenancy was taken up recently by gazette.com, the online version of The Gazette newspaper in Colorado Springs. The article is titled “Money & the Law: Joint tenancy can have unexpected consequences,” and the author notes that elderly parents commonly add an adult child as a “joint owner” on their assets. While the parents’ intentions are good (e.g., to avoid probate), they come with some significant risks.
As the article notes, one risk is that of unintentionally disinheriting any children not added as joint tenants. This can cause family quarrels lasting for generations. Another problem not discussed in the article includes subjecting jointly held assets to the divorces, lawsuits, and creditors of each joint owner.
In conclusion, add third parties (e.g., children and friends) as joint tenants to your assets only after consulting with your estate planning attorney. Consider it “legal dynamite” – handle with care.
Understanding the complexities of Joint Tenancy is just a part of successful estate planning. To ensure a successful plan, we at Idaho Estate Planning will: 1) educate you and your helpers; 2) take the time to get to know you, your family, your desires, your concerns, your goals, and your potential problems; 3) gladly and patiently answer questions until you understand the concept or issue; and, 4) based on experience with the problems and results caused by poor planning, help you design and implement the plan that fits your concerns and goals. Remember, good planning is no accident.