What Does Joint Tenancy Mean And Why Does It Matter To Florida Landowners?
Paying off a home mortgage is something many Americans work toward for many years. Those who can make that final payment do so with a sigh of relief. Whether or not you own your home outright, you can legally transfer your property interests to your spouse or another person after your death while avoiding probate. The legal principle of joint tenancy in Florida allows you to transfer your property seamlessly at the time of death.
What is Joint Tenancy in Florida?
Property owners in Florida can choose to own a property as a joint tenancy with rights of survivorship. In this case, upon your death, the property will transfer to the person to whom you give a right of survivorship benefit without going through probate court. There are some restrictions on who can use joint tenancy with a right of survivorship, however. Only single-family properties or vacation condos can exist in a joint tenancy.
There are three types of joint tenancy in Florida. The first is joint tenancy, the second is a tenancy in common, and the third is tenancy by the entirety. Tenancy by the entirety means that the real estate title is in the names of two co-owners who are married. Importantly, only married people can own property via tenancy in the entirety within Florida. If you’re married, a tenancy in the entirety could ease the burden on your spouse when you pass away. With this type of tenancy, your property will transfer to your spouse immediately at your death.
In a tenancy in common, two people each own a pre-designated amount of the property. For example, if there are four tenants in common, they could each hold a 25% interest. Or, one person could own 70% of the property, and the other three tenants could own 10% each. When one tenant passes away, his or her interest is considered to be owned by him individually. Thus, that asset will be subject to the probate process and pass pursuant to the terms of his Will.
Potential Problems With a Joint Tenancy Ownership in Florida
While joint tenancy with the right to survivorship offers some advantages such as ease of transfer when one person dies, it does come with some potential downfalls. For example, if one owner has judgment against that owner, the creditor could sue that owner and take title to his or her interest in the property to satisfy the judgment. However, if this does not apply if the property is owned jointed by a married couple as tenants by the entireties. Because each spouse is considered to own an undivided 100% interest in the property titled as tenancy by the entireties, a judgment creditor of only one spouse cannot attach the property to satisfy their judgment.
Do You Have Questions About Joint Tenancy in Florida? We Are Here to Help
Our skilled estate planning attorneys are here to help you decide if owning a property in a joint tenancy is the best legal decision for you and your loved ones. The St. Petersburg estate planning lawyers at Legacy Protection Lawyers in Saint Petersburg are here to help you. Contact our office today to set up your consultation.