joint ownershipThis article entitled “Top 5 Reasons To Beware Of Joint Ownership Between Generations” was in the September 13, 2011 online edition of Forbes magazine. It describes some good reasons to be wary of co-ownership between generations.

When I am presenting educational seminars regarding estate planning to the public or continuing education presentations to attorneys, I am often asked if holding assets in joint ownership (e.g. joint tenancy) is an effective way to avoid probate and avoid the use of a living trust.  While this technique may work in limited circumstances, I generally don’t recommend it for a number of reasons that are outlined very well in this article.  One disadvantage of holding assets in joint tenancy NOT mentioned in this article is that joint tenancy does not give the surviving joint tenant the full benefit of a double step-up in tax basis.