Estate and probate laws are complex, with various factors affecting a person’s property and assets after they pass away. The time needed to settle the estate varies depending on whether they had a valid will or other estate planning documents.
Many practical tools, such as joint ownership, may help you reach your estate planning goals. Call an estate planning attorney knowledgeable about assets and ownership in O’Fallon when you need legal advice about settling an estate.
Estate Planning and Joint Ownership
Many estate planning tools and strategies allow asset protection by minimizing taxes and fees. An estate planner must plan effective methods to avoid disputes in ongoing probate litigation.
Joint ownership of assets is one strategy that allows assets to skip probate and pass directly to surviving family members. When two or more people share ownership of property and assets, the surviving owners automatically inherit the deceased member’s share.
What Is Probate?
Probate is the legal process most property and assets must pass through after the estate owner’s death. Many components determine whether the probate process is straightforward or requires ongoing litigation and court appearances. Effective estate planning helps planners protect themselves and their beneficiaries.
Does All Property Pass Through Probate?
Certain property types do not require probate before a transfer to estate beneficiaries. Some examples of nonprofitable assets include:
An O’Fallon attorney who understands about ownership and assets could help determine assets that must go through the probate process.
Joint Tenancy and Tenancy in Common
Joint tenancy is a type of property ownership that involves two or more people sharing ownership of real property. Each party with property rights has an equal and undivided interest. According to the Revised Statutes of Missouri § 442.450, when a co-owner dies, the other owner(s) have a legal right of survivorship, automatically owning the deceased party’s share of the property.
Alternatively, when two or more people share ownership of assets as tenancy in common, they do not have the right to survivorship upon a co-owners death.
Benefits of Joint Tenancy for O’Fallon Property Owners
Property owners often benefit from joint tenancy, especially in the following circumstances:
- When a co-owner dies, the property owned by the deceased skips probate and passes to the surviving co-owners
- Married couples own properties by joint tenancy of their primary residence, and the surviving spouse can stay in the home without taking legal action or probate
- After a spouse dies, when the other owns the bank and other accounts jointly, they can continue using the accounts as they did before the death
A potential disadvantage of joint tenancy is that if all co-owners die together in the same accident, beneficiaries may have to attend court to determine ownership. A lawyer seasoned in property and ownership in O’Fallon could review options and determine the best estate planning tools for a unique case.
Speak With a Qualified O’Fallon Attorney About Assets and Ownership
Whether considering joint ownership, exploring probate alternatives, or protecting your assets and beneficiaries, a well-versed estate planning attorney who understands assets and ownership in O’Fallon could provide invaluable guidance for your case. At Polaris Estate Planning and Elder Law, we understand that every person’s life, estate property, needs, and aspirations differ.
Our lawyers take pride in approaching unique situations with care, expertise, and personalized attention. Let us advise you to make the right decisions for you and your loved ones. Call today to set up a consultation.