The TreeceCo Report
A common solution that people sometimes come up with in deciding not to have a Living Revocable Trust is “joint tenancy.” Basically what this term means is that more than one person is on an account. It could be a car loan, mortgage, bank account, or really anything that involves having an account of some type.
Generally this is fine for spouses, but where the problem comes in is when parents and children are joint tenants on accounts. If for some reason a creditor is seeking payment from you, whoever is a joint tenant on your account is equally liable for that payment or debt.
For example, if you were involved in an automobile accident and you were responsible for damages. If the damages exceeded your auto insurance coverage and you were sued for the difference, your joint tenant would then be liable for the money if you were found to owe in the lawsuit.
This strategy limits what you can actually do with your assets, because it only provides one step in estate planning. I like to think of a Living Revocable Trust as a nearly bulletproof strategy because it hedges against a plethora of “what ifs.”
What if you want your property to go a beneficiary who is younger and want the funds managed until he / she reaches a certain age? What if your joint tenant passes away before you do? Joint tenancy should be looked at as a piecemeal approach that provides only one step of a complete solution.
The other aspect to note is that putting a child or non-spouse on a deed as a joint tenant can create costly gift taxes. Often the IRS will look at this as if the deed’s owner is actually giving half of the house or property to that child or tenant. This can create a tax nightmare. This one-step approach potentially has multiple downfalls.
Our estate planning approach involves a customized Wealth Transformer process in which you and your spouse will meet with a TreeceCo representative for the educational aspects of estate planning and with a licensed estate planning attorney to plot exactly how you wish to plan your estate.
During this process we actually meet with you seven times, because we believe you deserve to understand the process. And unless you’re an attorney, all the jargon can be overwhelming. With our process you have time to process what you want to do and time to formulate questions without being rushed or pressured.
We would be happy to mail you a Wealth Transformer brochure that details this process. Just email your mailing address to info@TreeceCo.com or call 855.534.4653 to receive your brochure.