There are several ways in which a person can retain interest in a piece of property in the state of Oklahoma. Depending on the facts surrounding property ownership, a person should make a determination about what piece of property is right for him or her.
One of the most common types of property ownership, joint ownership, refers to when two or more individuals retain ownership rights in a piece of property. This article will review some of the reasons why joint ownership of property might be right for you.
The Survivor Element of Joint Ownership
In joint tenancy properties in Oklahoma, when a co-owner dies, that person’s property interest passes to the surviving owners. While some people might be okay with this type of property arrangement, other individuals are not.
Despite this feature, it is important for property owners to remember that joint tenancy is not a substitute for a will. A will is required to dispose of any other types of ownership rights that might be associated with this property.
Ownership Rights can be Transferred to Third Parties
If a property owner transfers his or her title to another person, the purchaser obtains only an undivided one-half interest in the property. The property owner that did not convey rights still retains a one-half interest in the property. Additionally, these conveyances eliminate the joint tenancy.
Married Couples Can Disinherit Children
A joint tenancy passes to the surviving spouse with any obligations to any of the couple’s children. In some cases, due to remarriage by the widow, children can end up entirely disinherited from owning the property. As a result, some married couples decide not to use joint tenancy as a type of property ownership.
For the survivors of an estate, however, it is important to remember that the state of Oklahoma does not have a gift tax. Federal law also grants spouses unlimited gifting power. As a result, there is no gift tax placed on a joint estate.
Additional planning can help to avoid any tax that might be placed on a property that is held in joint tenancy.
Agreement Over Property Decisions
Before a decision can be made about what to do with property, the individuals who hold the property in joint tenancy must agree what to do. This can prove to be an effective safeguard if one of the property owners begins to suffer from mental incompetency.
Joint Tenancy Sometimes Avoids Probate
In some cases, probate can be avoided. In these situations, the surviving joint property owner or personal files an affidavit and authentic copy of the death certificate to the county clerk. If the surviving joint tenant, however, is not the spouse of the deceased person, then a court will likely be required to terminate joint tenancy.
Speak With a Knowledgeable Probate Attorney
If you are not sure what the best type of property ownership is for you or how your property ownership might be affected by end of life planning, contact attorney Jim A Lyon today.