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Owning Property as Joint Tenants

There are many different ways that people can hold legal title to property that they own. One of the ways is by joint tenancy, which has several unusual characteristics and can also have certain benefits.

Legally, joint tenancy is the joint ownership of property by two or more persons. Regardless of who bought the property, all joint tenants own an equal share, all of them have an equal right to use the property, and all of them share in any income it earns. When a joint tenant dies, his or her share passes to the other joint tenant(s) and is not subject to claims by his or her heirs or beneficiaries. Accordingly, one of the advantages of joint tenancy is that it allows the easy transfer of property on death.

All kinds of property can be owned by joint tenancy, including automobiles, bank accounts, land, and securities, such as stocks and bonds. Joint tenancy in a piece of property is usually indicated by naming the owners as "A and B, as joint tenants" in the deed, title document, or account paperwork.

However, joint tenancy does have limitations. For example, any joint tenant can take all of the money out of a jointly owned bank account and spend it. All of the joint tenants must agree that a specific property can be sold. The creation of a joint tenancy may also have tax consequences. Finally, joint tenancy may not be as flexible as some other options for the ownership of property.

Although not for everyone, a joint tenancy can be useful in the right circumstances. Done correctly, owning property as joint tenants allows an owner to decide who gets the property on his or her death and may make it unnecessary to include the property in a will.

This website is not intended to constitute legal advice or the provision of legal services. By posting and/or maintaining the website and its contents, Lucas Law does not intend to solicit business from clients located in states or jurisdictions outside of Illinois wherein Lucas Law or its individual attorney(s) are not licensed or authorized to practice law.

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