Transferring real estate can be complicated, especially if you don’t have the help of an experienced estate planning attorney. If you are interested in transferring your home without probate, you might add on the other party as a joint tenant or use a trust. Either way, when structured properly, can be effective in the property being transferred without the need for probate.

However, the strategies and processes for these transfers occur very differently. It is critical to understand the why and the how. With regard to the joint tenancy, that individual becomes a joint owner with rights of survivorship. When either of the joint owners passes away, the surviving joint owner gets their interest in their home if that person’s interest in the home is the result of the survivorship. If this is your only intention, then joint tenancy will most likely work.

That being said, if your only goal is to avoid probate, it’s not commonly recommended to use joint tenancy. The challenge with joint tenancy is that you are giving the other party an immediate interest in the property as they essentially become a part owner. This can become challenging because adding someone as a part owner affords them all the risks and rights associated with planned ownership.

All of the owners will have to agree, for example, if your goal was to sell the home or to mortgage it.

At our Pasadena estate planning law office, we’re here to help you determine which tools are best used during your life and which ones should become active for your beneficiaries after you pass away.

Scheduling a consultation with an experienced estate planning attorney can give you the road map you need to understand the steps involved in protecting your interests.

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