By: Timothy P. Brynteson – Published in the BizWest Thought Leaders column in October 2016
Most couples assume that if one them dies, their home or other real estate will pass automatically to their spouse. Normally couples own their home or other real estate “jointly” – in other words they own it together, or both of their names are on the title. While this is almost always true, you may not own it as “joint tenants” which is how most couples think they own their home. If your title does not specifically name you and your partner as “joint tenants” – you will be deemed to own your property as “tenants in common” which will mean that the survivor of the couple will need to file a probate proceeding to transfer the deceased partner’s property to themselves. It is a good practice to check your title to property, cars and bank accounts to make sure they are titled properly and avoid extra work and expense when the first of the couple dies.