Transferring property when its held jointly can come with certain complications. Joint ownership is a term that arises when more than one person owns property. And, ultimately, it can be used as a simple and cost-effective way to transfer property after death. For example, a parent who wants to make sure that an adult child inherits money in a bank account can add the adult child’s name as a joint owner of the account. When the parent passes away, the adult child automatically becomes sole owner of the account and there will be no need to open a probate estate to transfer the money.
Under South Carolina law, people can also transfer real estate after death by adding someone to the deed as a joint tenant with rights of survivorship. By adding a second person to a deed as a joint tenant with rights of survivorship, the real estate will automatically belong to the surviving owner when the other owner passes away. The surviving owner will only need to file a certified copy of the death certificate with the Register of Deeds for the county where the real estate is located.
When property is jointly owned, there is no need to go through probate to transfer the property. By avoiding probate, the property is transferred quickly and the costs of opening a probate estate are avoided. However, there are potential problems with adding another person’s name to your property.
Potential Problems With Joint Ownership
One potential problem is that the other person actually owns the property also. That ownership gives the second owner certain rights to the property that the initial owner might not want. For example, both owners of a bank account have the right to withdraw money from the account. In the perfect world where everyone can be trusted, that will not be a problem. Unfortunately, there are some people who will freely spend the funds in the bank account even if they were only named on a bank account for estate planning purposes.
There are also potential problems with joint real estate ownership. If you add someone’s name to the deed to your home for estate planning purposes and later decide to sell the home, the other owner will need to sign off on the sale also. A problem will arise if the joint tenant does not want to sell the property.
Estate Planning Documents
When developing an estate plan, it is important to make sure that all of your estate planning documents are consistent to avoid future problems. Dispute with heirs may arise if your will states that one heir will receive all of your money although a different heir is named as a joint owner of your bank account. It is very important to speak with an estate planning attorney to make sure that you do everything possible to avoid disputes after your death.
Contact An Attorney In Greenville For Help
At the De Bruin Law Firm in Greenville, South Carolina, our estate planning attorneys can help you to determine if adding another person’s name to your property is in your best interest. Our estate planning attorneys can also prepare any necessary deeds or other conveyancing documents. In the event there is a dispute resulting from the ownership or transfer of property, our estate planning attorneys will aggressively represent your interests. Contact the De Bruin Law Firm today to schedule an appointment with one of our estate planning attorneys.