Blogs from August, 2014


After Robert died, Joan owned their vacation home outright. She remarried a few years later, and she added her new spouse's name to the title. When Joan died, her children were shocked to learn that the new husband now owned the property, even though their father had always promised it would stay in the family and go to the three of them.

Other Risks of Joint Ownership

  • While it's easy to add a co-owner's name to a title, taking someone's name off a title can be difficult. If the person does not agree, you could end up in court.
  • Your assets are exposed to the other owner's debt and obligations. For example, if you add your adult son on the title of your home and he is successfully sued, you could be forced to sell your home.
  • There could be serious gift and/or income tax consequences.
  • If you add a minor as a joint owner, the only way to sell or refinance the asset is through a court guardianship.
  • If you need to sell or refinance and your co-owner is incapacitated and unable to conduct business, you'll have to ask the court to appoint someone to sign for your co-owner (even if that co-owner is your spouse). Once the court gets involved, it usually stays involved to protect the incapacitated owner's interest until the incapacity ends or the person dies.

Actions to Consider

  • To avoid both inconvenience and tragedy, call our office immediately to set up an appointment and have your asset ownership reviewed.
  • We will review your asset ownership and explain what will happen to your assets if you become disabled and when you die.
  • We will show you how to own your assets to best ensure your estate plan works, meaning it does what you think it's going to do.

Joint ownership with a sibling, life partner, business partner, child, spouse, or anyone else, puts your assets and your children's inheritance at risk. It may cause significant and unnecessary taxes and cause your estate plan to fail. To avoid both inconvenience and tragedy, you are invited to call our office right now.