It may come as a surprise to many, but joint tenancy can wreak havoc on an otherwise well-structured estate plan immediately undermining the testator’s intents and allowing property to pass outside of the directives of a will or trust. If you are consider your estate plan and have jointly titled bank accounts, we encourage you to consider the following important pointers from Bronx estate planning lawyers with regard to this potentially-hazardous setup.
Joint Bank Accounts
It is not uncommon for our Bronx estate planning lawyers to come across a situation in which a decedent with a jointly-titled bank account unknowingly passes the entire balance to the other account-holder. When it comes to checking, savings, money market or any other type of account, a will or trust cannot undo the fact that a surviving family member remains on the account after the testator passes away. Much to the chagrin of surviving children and next-of-kin, a joint account holder is completely within his or her rights to drain the joint bank account and collect a portion of the estate if provided in the will, which is a clear reason to avoid this type of setup when considering your estate plan.
Jointly-held Real Property
For the same reasons explained above, jointly held real property will pass immediately to the surviving title-holders upon the death of an owner. To avoid this result, property must be re-titled in the name of decedent prior to death and bequeathed to the intended beneficiary in a comprehensive estate plan. If you are currently holding real property jointly with a child or other family member and wish to avoid this disastrous result, please meet with us right away to reorganize and prioritize your succession plan.
Jointly-titled Personal Property
Identical to real property, jointly titled boats, cars or personal assets will pass to the other person on the title upon death, which could potentially undermine an estate plan if the testator wished to have these assets liquidated and divided among several beneficiaries. Experienced Bronx probate attorneys can help you avoid this result and ensure your tangible personal property is provided for in your estate plan and re-titled according to your wishes.
Contact Experienced Bronx Estate Planning Lawyers Today
If you currently maintain one or more joint accounts with another person and would like to reconstruct your estate plan to avoid this arrangement, please contact attorney Evan Rogers right away. Joint tenancy, if unintended, can override your estate plan and undermine your wishes. To avoid this result, call 718-994-1640 today.