Joint Tenancy Accounts
A joint tenancy account with a right of survivorship is a great estate planning tool. Essentially, all assets in the account pass to the surviving co-owner of the account on the death of the other co-owner. Joint tenancy accounts pass outside of probate. This means that you do not have to start or be a part of a probate proceeding to transfer these assets.
A joint tenancy account can easily be set up at your bank or financial institution. This account will be subject to an agreement between the parties on the account and the financial institution indicating that the account has been set up as a joint tenancy account.
The most common joint tenancy account is between spouses. Two spouses can set up such an account and on the death of one the assets seamlessly transfer to the other. An elderly parent may also place a child on their account to both help monitor the account and pay bills and also as part of an estate plan to transfer assets.
Keep in mind if a joint account is started that both parties may access the funds in the account. If your desire is to not have these funds available to the other party until your death, then you may want to consider an account with a beneficiary or another estate planning tool as will be discussed in later posts.