Putting Assets in Joint Tenancy

When should someone else be on accounts?


  • Avoid Probate
  • Convenience
  • Medicaid Planning
  • Safe Deposit Box


  • Loss of Control
    • Either owner may remove funds from accounts
    • Real Estate: viewed as gift/loss of step up in basis
    • Life estate: available resource for Medicaid
    • Joint tenants must concur for sales/management of real property
  • Estate Planning consequences
  • Tax consequences
  • Subject to creditors/liens of joint owner
  • Joint owners can be sued (i.e., motor vehicles)

Alternatives to Joint Tenant Designation (JTTEN)

  • POD Accounts – “Pay-On-Death”
    • Bank Accounts
    • Avoids probate
    • Does not avoid creditors
    • Multiple beneficiaries
  • TOD Accounts – “Transfer-On Death”
    • Securities
      • Each security company has different rules
  • TODD – “Transfer-On-Death-Deed”
    • Real Estate
      • Does not avoid creditors
      • Avoids probate
      • Allows for multiple beneficiaries
      • Must be recorded by county clerk
      • Simple revocation/changes
  • Trusts
  • Powers-of-Attorney

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