Is Joint Tenancy A Substitute For A Will?

Video Summary

Is joint tenancy a substitute for a Will?

Well, it certainly avoids probate as far as that's concerned and when you hold something as joint tenancy with rider survivorship and it provides who will receive it upon your death. But a Will covers anything that you don't own as jointly or don't have a named beneficiary on it. That's why they call it estate planning as far as signing a Will, stating who you want to receive whatever assets that are titled in your name. When you pass away, if you don't have any assets titled in your name, there will be no probate and your Will will not be used.

The Will does not override joint tenancy or other contracts such as life insurance policies; they go to the beneficiaries. You have bank accounts that are not only joint but payable on death. They'll go to whoever you designate. That's all by contract. IRAs designate a beneficiary. So you can effectively plan your estate on how you title your assets, yeah, and you need to.

And part of the estate planning process is to have a Will, which is basically a safety net for any assets that you acquired and did not have an opportunity before you died or you inherited later as to who you'd like to receive those documents. So, a joint tenancy with rider survivorship will have the asset passed to the joint tenant and whereas a Will will require probate and it will go to whoever you designate in your Will after the payment of creditors.

If you have any questions about joint accounts or wills or estate planning or probate, well, give me a call at 727-847-2288.