There are different ways to own property. It is important to understand how each form of property ownership affects your estate plan. Knowing how each ownership impacts your estate plan, can allow you to make better estate planning decisions. Below are descriptions on the three main ways to own property.
- If you are not married, most of your property will probably be owned in your name.
- Examples of property with individual ownership include your mortgage deed, car title, and insurance and investment accounts.
- Assets that are owned by you, individually, are controlled by your will. This guarantees probate.
- Most married couples have most property owned in joint names.
- Joint ownership is not only for married couples. This can be used with siblings or with an elderly parent and his or her children.
- A mortgage deed and investment accounts would name two names as owners and say as “joint tenants with right of survivorship.”
- Both owners have 100% ownership.
- Jointly owned assets are not controlled by your will or trust. This could lead to unintentional problems such as disinheriting a child.
Tenants in common
- Tenants in common is a form of ownership that allows two people to own a property, but each person owns a specific share. Each person is able to sell his or her own share.
- A rental property that lists two people as tenants in common gives each person a 50% ownership (usually.) Each owner is able to sell, devise, or give away his or her share. The other owner will still own his or her 50% share.
- This type of ownership is controlled by your will. This guarantees probate.
If you have questions about property ownership and how it impacts your estate plan, consult with an experienced estate planning attorney.