California families should do what they can to avoid probate because it can be a difficult and time-consuming process. One way to keep assets out of probate is to put them in a joint tenancy arrangement. This puts the property in the name of two or more owners.
Joint tenancy will pass property outside of probate
With joint tenancy, multiple owners have an undivided right to the property. With survivorship, the property will not go into probate when one of the owners dies. This is because there are still people who have an interest in the property. Here, the property interest is passed directly to the other property owner, and there is no need for probate. In terms of avoiding probate, this is better than a joint tenancy in common.
Family members often have joint tenancy
This is a typical arrangement between family members and spouses who purchase property together. They share in both the benefits and the obligations of owning the property. In addition to avoiding probate, this will also create security for each of the property owners. They each have a right to the income from the property. However, there are some drawbacks, namely that one owner may be able to force the sale of the property if they run into bankruptcy. In addition, the double-edged sword from avoiding probate is the lack of inheritance rights in the property.
Before entering into a joint tenancy arrangement, you should consider the estate planning ramifications. You should also think about the other legal consequences. An attorney may help you consider your particular situation in order to minimize your tax obligations and keep as much of your estate as possible out of probate.