What are the disadvantages of joint ownership?

Although joint ownership and naming beneficiaries can be used where appropriate to avoid probate, these arrangements must be used carefully because they can have many negative consequences. It can be very dangerous to add parties other than your spouse as a joint owner to any of your property. The possible negative consequences include: losing control over your property, increased tax liability, inadvertently making your property available to creditors of the other party, and inadvertently disinheriting other persons whom you may want to share in this property at your death. Because there are so many negative consequences to such an action, seldom should a non-spouse be added as a joint owner.

In addition, if you are in a second marriage and have children from your first marriage to whom you wish to leave property upon your death, this seriously complicates the matter. If you name your new spouse as a joint owner of any asset, that asset goes to him or her upon your death.

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