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Hawaii Residents Can Avoid Probate with This One Simple Vehicle

When undergoing the difficult process of transitioning a deceased loved one’s assets, probate avoidance is a must. Probate court proceedings can be long and frustrating, putting your family through unnecessary hassle as they ascertain who gets what. Sparing those close to you of the emotional and financial stress that this process causes can be achieved in various ways. One vehicle to drive this quest for avoiding probate will help considerably to ease the process.  

Joint Ownership of Estate

Joint ownership is a reliable and effective way to secure probate avoidance in Honolulu or anywhere else in Hawaii. If you co-own a property and this co-ownership includes the right to survivorship, then the surviving owner automatically owns that property when the other owner passes away. You will then be able to transfer the property without needing the courts to get involved. All you need to do is show paperwork proving that you, the surviving owner, legally hold the property’s title.

Three joint ownership types contain a right to survivorship in Hawaii. One case is joint tenancy, where a property is passed to the surviving owners when one dies. If you have a significant other (married or not), this is very helpful when you’ve acquired real estate, vehicles, or any other valuable property. Then, there’s tenancy by the entirety, which is much like joint tenancy, but is permissible for married couples and registered domestic partners only. Another type for married couples is community property with right of survivorship, which functions similarly to joint tenancy.

How to Prove Joint Ownership

If you find that your property is not properly titled, it is highly recommended that you execute a new deed that clearly states survivorship intentions. All you have to do is complete a simple form and supply a copy of the previous owner’s or co-owner’s death certificate to become the sole owner.

For real property, you as the surviving owner will have to record a document proving joint ownership. Evidence can be presented as an affidavit or a sworn statement. This statement should contain a legal property description and a statement that the property was held in joint tenancy. You should also include recording information that identifies the prior document was establishing joint ownership. So attach the book and page number or document identification number for the prior deed. The deceased owner’s name, death date, and death certificate copy should be included as well as your name.

Whenever you or a loved one owns property or accrues liquid assets worth more than $100,000, you should take the time to create a solid backup plan. There are potential drawbacks when you add someone as a co-owner, such as the potential triggering of the federal gift tax if the property value is high. But, using joint ownership measures will help you avoid stressful proceedings when you transfer property rights. Probate avoidance in Honolulu and across the board becomes achievable by putting this simple vehicle in motion.

To learn more about proper estate planning, schedule a free consult with Michael Madison, Honolulu Estate Planning Attorney.


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