“Information Bits from the Boss: Samantha provides brief answers to clients frequently asked questions”
What If I own property jointly with someone else? What happens at my death?
I can give you two examples:
1) What if my sister and I own a piece of real estate together? If we own real estate, it’s going to depend on how it’s titled. In Pennsylvania two people can own it as tenants in common or joint tenants with right of survivorship.
(a) If my sister and I own it as “tenants in common,” when I die, my half (or whatever my proportion is), goes through my will. It would be distributed through my will, which means that my estate would have to be probated in order to transfer that real estate to whomever it is supposed to go to under my will.
(b) If on the other hand it’s a “joint tenants with right of survivorship,” upon my death it automatically goes to my sister as the joint tenant, and it doesn’t have to go through probate.
In either situation my sister is still paying PA inheritance tax. One situation avoids probate while the other situation does not.
2) What if my sister and I own a bank account together? If I died, that bank account would go to my sister as the joint owner and would not have to go through probate to transfer that account. It would automatically go to her. She would still have to pay inheritance tax on my half of the value of that bank account. It would go to her and wouldn’t actually pass through the will because she was a joint owner.
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