Monday, June 22, 2009

Proper Asset Titling a Fundamental Part of the Estate Plan

From the LA Times, a primer on asset titling:

Tenancy by the entirety - available only to married couples. Each spouse has an undivided interest and equal right of possession. Also each spouse inherits a deseased spouse's interest. Creditors of either spouse cannot attach a lien on a property unless the judgment is against both of you.

Tenancy in Common - Each owner owns a set but not necessarily equal percentage. No rights of survivorship. Each owner can convey his portion without the consent of other owners. Unless the property is held in trust, it will go through probate at owner's death.

Joint Tenancy with Right of Survivorship - This is like Joint Tenancy, but the property is not protected from the individual creditors of each owner. Also this property will always transfer to the surviving Joint Tenant owner.

Sole Ownership - You have sole control over the property and can will it to who you want. If you marry later, your spouse isn't an automatic co-owner, and depending, if you divorce, your ex-spouse may not have any claim to the property.

The article lightly discusses trust and tax issues, but as always, you should consult and professional estate planning attorney.

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