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IS JOINT TENANCY AN EFFECTIVE WAY TO AVOID PROBATE?

Probate can be postponed by holding property in joint tenancy with another person, but there are several disadvantages to this. To sell real estate, stocks and many other types of assets held in joint tenancy during your lifetime, you must have the signature of both joint tenants. Thus, if your joint tenant is uncooperative or becomes incapacitated, you cannot readily sell or transfer your assets. Bank accounts can be more of a problem because your joint tenant has the right to withdraw funds at any time without your consent. In addition, if your joint tenant has creditor problems, the creditor can garnish the jointly held asset to satisfy the debt. Finally, adding someone as a joint tenant may be considered a gift to that person and a gift tax may be imposed. In summary, although there are advantages to using joint tenancy, they are usually outweighed by the disadvantages.