Joint Ownership of Property With Spouses, Children or other Heirs May Not Be A Smart Substitute for a Will or Trust.

Spouses generally benefit from owning their home as tenants by the entirety. However, joint ownership of property (OR insurance policies, bank and retirement accounts) with children, heirs or unrelated persons may result in disadvantages such as: 1. the loss of “stepped-up” basis on capital gains taxes, 2. the loss or diminution of the homestead exemption, 3. the negative effects of the creditor problems by one of the joint owners, 4. the loss of control because all joint owners would be required to sign for a sale and other transactions, and 5. the inadvertent frustration of an agreed estate plan when, for example, one child chooses not to share with other siblings after the parent dies.

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