Forms of Joint Property Ownership: What are the Categories of Joint Property Ownership?

Community property, tenancy by the entirety, tenancy in common and joint tenancy with a right of survivorship are just but a few categories of joint property ownership.

People will go through life trying to amass as much property as they can to guarantee their financial comfort. Life is, however, not guaranteed. As such, you should have a plan in place for the inheritance of the property you work hard to get after your death.

You might assume that inheritance plans are reserved for those with valuable properties. You should, however, have an inheritance plan irrespective of how much wealth you currently have. This way, you avoid the need of a Denver-based probate attorney for your loved ones after your passing.

The probate process is a court-supervised one for distributing your assets. If your properties do not directly pass to your beneficiaries, they must go through probate whether or not you have a will. This will take time and attract various legal costs that will prove costly for your grieving loved ones.

There are multiple options available for avoiding probate. One of the best is the use of a joint ownership property structure. Here are the forms of joint property ownership.

Community Property

In some states, the law specifies that the property acquired by a husband and wife during their union is considered community property. The property will thus be equally held by the spouses even if it is in the name of one spouse.

After one spouse’s death, the property will pass on to the surviving one without going through probate.

Joint Tenancy with a Right of Survivorship

In this alternative, property owners will have equal rights to your property. Any owner can withdraw or make decisions on what will happen to the property without input from the rest. Upon the death of a property’s owner, the property will automatically pass on to the surviving tenants without going through the probate process.

You cannot transfer or give the property owned in joint tenancy with a right of survivorship even in a will.

Tenancy by the Entirety

This form of joint property ownership also only exists among spouses and is only available in a few states. One spouse cannot transfer, mortgage, or sell a property without the other’s consent. He/she can also not be involved in any dealings that will affect the other spouse’s property rights.

When one dies, the surviving spouse inherits the entire property. Creditors of one spouse are also not allowed to sell their debtor’s interests in a property. This only happens if both spouses are in debt to the same creditor.

Tenancy in Common

Here, each property owner will own a specific percentage of a property’s value. The owners can thus withdraw or sell their portions without consulting the others. When an owner under the tenancy in common ownership structure passes on, his/her property share goes to the designated beneficiaries.

This form of joint ownership is not entirely probate-free though the chances of probate are minimal. After your passing on, your loved ones will be ordinarily grieving and burdened with funeral costs. It is unfair to burden them with probate costs and lengthy court processes further. The above forms of joint ownership will nonetheless only work for your loved ones when handled by a seasoned attorney.

This is a contributed post.

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