Affidavit of Death of Joint Tenants in Missouri
While creating your estate plan it is important to consider the way your estate assets are titled. If you are married, it is likely that you own some property with your spouse. If you are not married, you may own assets or property with someone else like a partner, sibling or parent. There are different types of joint ownership and each type comes with advantages and disadvantages. Understanding joint ownership is important when it comes to planning your estate and a probate lawyer St. Charles can assist you.
Most assets can be held jointly, including financial accounts, securities and real property.
The different types of joint ownership are not all created equal. Failing to understand the different types of joint ownership can lead to your estate plan resulting in disaster.
In Missouri there are three types of joint ownership available:
Tenancy in Common – Two or more owners that own undivided share in the property. Each owner can sell or encumber his/her interest in the property without the consent of the other owners.
Also, if one owner dies then their interest in the property becomes part of their estate to be distributed according to their Will or state law.
An advantage to this kind of joint ownership is that creditors of one owner cannot touch the other owner’s interest in the property. A disadvantage is the uncertainty that comes along with the death of an owner.
Joint Tenancy – Upon death of one co-owner, their interest in the property is automatically transferred to the remaining co-owner without probate being involved.
Probate avoidance is the main advantage to this kind of joint ownership but disadvantages can include needing consent of all owners to sell or encumber the property, creditors of one owner may attach a claim to the entire property instead of just the debtors interest in the property, and special language is required to transfer the property into a trust and retain its joint tenancy.
Tenants by the Entirety – Can only be created by married couples and is similar to joint tenancy in that neither spouse can sell his/her interest in the property without consent of their spouse. The disadvantages are the same as joint tenancy but the advantage to this is that the property is not subject the either spouse’s individual debt, only joint debts.
When property is jointly owned, it automatically passes to the surviving joint tenant(s) following a joint tenant’s death. The property passes on outside of what a will or trust says through a simple process called “right of survivorship”.
No probate is necessary but paperwork will be required. In most cases, to become sole owner and clear the title of the property, the surviving owner fills out and files an “Affidavit of Death of Joint Owner” document accompanied by a death certificate with the county’s recorder office.
If the title is never officially cleared it can create issues in the future, like when a second joint tenant dies and the property needs to be transferred to the person who inherits it now. A deeds lawyer St. Charles can help.
Legacy Law Center is an award winning Estate Planning, Probate, and Elder Law Firm in St. Charles County, Missouri that can assist you with your planning needs. Call us today at (636) 486-2669 to set up a consultation.