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What happens to jointly owned property in probate?

On Behalf of | Mar 24, 2023 | Probate Administration |

Probate is the processing of closing an estate. If there is a will, it will usually dictate what happens with property during probate. If there is no will, state law will determine the passing of property to heirs.

If your estate includes property or assets you own jointly with another person, there are a couple of scenarios that could happen with your interest.

Passage on to a new owner

A common misconception is that if you jointly own something when you die, the surviving owner takes full possession. That is not true. What actually happens is that normal inheritance laws kick in.

If you have a will and you stated what was to happen with your interest, then the person you named will take ownership of your interest in the property. If you did not have a will, then inheritance laws will pass your interest to your next of kin, which is usually your spouse or children.

The presence of a special case

If the property you own was with your spouse and you died without a will, then your spouse will assume full ownership of the asset. This is a special situation because your spouse is your next of kin.

You can leave your interest in property to anyone you want as long as there was no other legal agreement outlining ownership upon the death of one of the owners of a joint asset. In this situation, you would have to abide by the existing agreement, which makes this another special case.

Having an estate plan in place will help to remove all confusion, especially that concerning jointly-owned property.