How Joint Tenancy Can Help You Avoid Probate

How Joint Tenancy Can Help You Avoid Probate

Joint tenancy is the most popular means of avoiding probate. Any property held in joint tenancy automatically passes to all surviving owners when one owner passes away. Setting up joint tenancy is also an easy (and free) process, which only adds to its popularity.

Anyone who purchases real estate, motor vehicles, securities or other valuable property together can benefit from joint tenancy. However, it is important to be aware of the potential drawbacks, as well.


  • Joint tenancy is easy to establish.
  • It is simple for the survivor to transfer the property title to himself or herself after the death of another other.
  • Joint tenancy can be used for just about any type of owned property.
  • In some circumstances, the survivor also may not have to worry about creditors’ claims. In such cases, after the death of one of the owners, property held in joint tenancy is only subject to claims for debts that are the responsibility of all tenants.
  • You may have more than two joint tenants.


  • The last surviving tenant must use a different method to avoid probate upon his or her death.
  • Probate is not circumvented if both/all owners of the property die at the same time.
  • All shares of the property must be equal (with exceptions for residents of Colorado, Connecticut, Ohio and Vermont).
  • If you own any property by yourself, adding another tenant requires you to make a gift of half the interest in the property.

Is joint tenancy right for you? Contact a knowledgeable Tampa estate planning attorney at BaumannKangas Estate Law to learn more.