The Truth About Jointly Titled Assets & Wills

We receive this question a lot, but it appears in various ways. Another offshoot of it is whether someone who doesn’t have a lot of money should take the time to create a will. Typically, younger people are in the beginning stages of their careers, have limited assets, and may be carrying debt from student loans. 

So, do young people (or those without much money) need to create a will? Please forgive us for the classical lawyer answer we are about to give: maybe. We cannot give you an answer because the amount of money you have is not the sole factor in determining whether you need a will. There are several other questions your estate planning attorney is going to ask. For example, they are going to want to know. Are any of your financial assets, physical assets (i.e., real estate or automobiles), jointly titled? 

In other words, if you and your spouse bought a home together and you pass away, the home defaults to the person whose name is on the title. The same line of thought extends to your other jointly-titled assets. A will is not going to supersede a title. At best, it is going to state something that will happen anyway. 

When Jointly Titled Assets Cause Conflict 

There are scenarios in which you should not rely on a jointly-titled asset to stand in place of a will. Where you may run into issues is if you have children. This variable can apply to a wide range of people, but it is crucial. Imagine that someone has multiple children—but only one of them is a co-owner of the bank account. 

When that person passes away, the contents of their account go directly to the co-owner. The co-owners are under no obligation to share that money with their siblings. Jointly titled assets tend to work better between married couples rather than between parents and their children, assuming they have multiple children. 

Family First Firm

Understanding how jointly titled assets can impact your estate is only one example of how complex this process can be. When you meet with an attorney at the Family First Firm, we will take the time to understand you, your estate, and your wishes. Then we will craft a unique plan that meets your needs. Contact us today to set up a consultation so that we can begin your estate plan.

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