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Should a right of survivorship play a role in my estate plan?

On Behalf of | Jun 9, 2022 | Estate planning

A right of survivorship is an important method for passing the title of your property on to joint tenants if one dies. Many people opt to use a right of survivorship rather than a simple will to pass on property because it is more difficult to contest.

Survivorship deeds always involve joint tenancies. Joint tenancies matter, because the joint tenants with right of survivorship obtain a share of the decedent’s property upon their death rather than passing on that share to other beneficiaries. Additionally, with a right of survivorship, the property will not need to go through probate. The surviving co-owners obtain the full legal title to the deceased’s property automatically.

Married? You need a right of survivorship in your estate plan

If you are married, setting up a right of survivorship is an important step to take. When you pass away, your share of any jointly owned property can be passed immediately to your surviving spouse. The property will be transferred into their name without having to go through probate, which is helpful since probate can be time consuming and costly.

If you don’t have a right of survivorship, what happens?

In the case that you don’t set up a right of survivorship with your spouse, the property may still pass to them. However, it might need to go through probate court first, or it may be divided differently, such as passing on to your spouse as well as a child you share. Your state’s intestacy laws will apply to cases where no will is present.

A right of survivorship helps protect your partner if you pass away

A right of survivorship is usually used to protect spouses upon one’s death, but it can be used in other ways as well. Knowing who you want to pass your property on to is the first step, and then you may want to consider willing the property to them as well. In addition, the right of survivorship will help guarantee that it is hard to challenge the inheritance, protecting what you’ve passed on to them against will contests.