Blog by Tad Lake

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February 21st, 2011 4:06 PM I recently valued a property that was the center of a law suit. The problem arose when the owners of the property decided that adding their son to the title as a joint tenant was a simple way of ensuring, that upon the parents

Here's a great article outlining the potential downside of trying to sidestep a probate tax through joint tennancy from Gina Ironmonger at Keystone Appraisals. Have a look it you're thinking about going down this road. Excerpt below:
"I recently valued a property that was the center of a law suit. The problem arose when the owners of the property decided that adding their son to the title as a joint tenant was a simple way of ensuring, that upon the parents' death, the property would transfer to the son without any probate fees. While this does work, it is problematic and a potentially dangerous practice.
The intention of the parents is that they will continue to use and benefit from the property and the children will take over once they die. The creation of a joint tenancy gives ownership of the property now and therefore is a current asset of the child on title. There are a number of potential problems that arise from this. If the child were sued, their creditors could place a charge against their share of the property. Outstanding taxes owed by the child could be secured by the property..."


"I recently valued a property that was the center of a law suit. The problem arose when the owners of the property decided that adding their son to the title as a joint tenant was a simple way of ensuring, that upon the parents' death, the property would transfer to the son without any probate fees. While this does work, it is problematic and a potentially dangerous practice.
The intention of the parents is that they will continue to use and benefit from the property and the children will take over once they die. The creation of a joint tenancy gives ownership of the property now and therefore is a current asset of the child on title. There are a number of potential problems that arise from this. If the child were sued, their creditors could place a charge against their share of the property. Outstanding taxes owed by the child could be secured by the property..." 

Click here for the full article.