The way title is held affects the way the asset passes upon death. Therefore, as part of your Estate Plan I will want to look at the deeds to any property that you own. If you own property with another person and both of you intent that the other should automatically receive your interest without having to go through the probate process, you will want to hold title to the property as “joint tenants.”

In Minnesota, in order for the property to be owned in joint tenancy, the deed must specifically state that the property is owned as such. For example, the deed would state that “X, a single person, Grantor, hereby conveys to A and B, husband and wife, Grantees, as joint tenants, real property in Ramsey County, Minnesota, described as follows…” If the deed does not specifically state that it is joint tenancy, then the property is held as tenants in common.

A thorough estate plan involves not only drafting a will, but taking a complete look at how your assets will pass upon your death.  Those who have married after purchasing property will especially want to review this aspect of their estate plan. Because each spouse acquired title at different times, they will not own the property as joint tenants and may want to record a new deed. For these and other reasons it is important to know how you hold title to your property, and also explains why I want to see your deed when I complete your estate plan.