The Need to Consider Assets Owned as a Joint Tenant in your Will

When two or more people own one asset, such as a property, as Joint Tenants if one dies the asset passes to the survivor automatically bypassing the will. Many people therefore don’t consider the issues of passing the asset in their will because it doesn’t – but this is only the case if you die first.

What if the property passes to you, and then you die shortly after without updating your will?

Example
Dave owns his house with his wife Betty, as Joint Tenants.
Dave dies. Betty inherits automatically. But Betty dies 6 months later without updating her will. Dave hadn’t considered his house in his will – and it would have had no effect if he did. Betty didn’t consider it either, but now the whole house will pass via her will, or the intestacy laws if she has no will.

Solution – assume you will solely own joint tenant assets when making a will.
r more people own one asset, such as a property, as Joint Tenants if one dies the asset passes to the survivor automatically bypassing the will. Many people therefore don’t consider the issues of passing the asset in their will because it doesn’t – but this is only the case if you die first.

What if the property passes to you, and then you die shortly after without updating your will?

Example
Dave owns his house with his wife Betty, as Joint Tenants.
Dave dies. Betty inherits automatically. But Betty dies 6 months later without updating her will. Dave hadn’t considered his house in his will – and it would have had no effect if he did. Betty didn’t consider it either, but now the whole house will pass via her will, or the intestacy laws if she has no will.

The Solution? – assume you will solely own joint tenant assets when making a will; How many people will do so? Without proper legal advice, unfortunate very few.

Written by Terry Waugh, lawyer at Structuring Lawyers, www.structuringlawyers.com.au

>