What is joint tenancy? Joint tenancy is simply a means of holding title to property. It is a survivorship means of holding title to property. For example, if parties A, B, and C own property in joint tenancy, and if A dies, then B and C own the property. If B subsequently dies, then C owns the property by himself. The last one alive owns all the property.

You can hold title in joint tenancy in real estate, bank accounts, stock and bonds, automobiles, etc.

Joint tenancy is commonly called the "poor man's" estate planning. The reason is that property held in joint tenancy does not have to be probated in a formal court proceeding. This involves the savings of court costs.

However, for the person with substantial assets, joint tenancy is undesirable. First, you may lose substantial tax benefits if you hold property in joint tenancy. Also if you have an estate planning will or trust, you will jeopardize it because the joint tenancy property will not be subject to your will or trust.