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How can joint ownership affect a Maryland estate plan?

Many times in life, individuals may believe that they understand a concept or process only to later find out that their beliefs were incorrect. This issue often arises when parties must deal with legal proceedings or other law-related situations. When creating an estate plan, this confusion could cause Maryland residents and their families to face unnecessary complications. 

One point of confusion some individuals may fall victim to involves joint ownership. Some parties may be under the impression that, if parents allow their children to jointly own property, then the children will automatically obtain the property in the event of the parents' death without the need for probate. However, there are different types of joint ownership, and if the correct form is not used, the assets may still go through probate proceedings. 

In order for assets to pass directly to beneficiaries, the joint ownership should designate right of survivorship. This means that, in the event of a death, the remaining owners can immediately take control of the property. If this designation was not included in the joint ownership agreement, the children would have to complete the probate process to obtain the property. 

If joint ownership is an option that interests some Maryland residents, gaining additional information may help them utilize this method effectively. Furthermore, individuals may also benefit from learning more about other asset protection tools relating to estate plan creation. In order to gain specific insight into their cases, interested parties may wish to speak with experienced attorneys to ensure that they make the best decisions for their circumstances.

Source: paulsvalleydailydemocrat.com, "Myths about joint ownership, wills", March 29, 2017

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