An estate plan is just that, a plan, not a single improvisational move. There are certain courses of action that you can take that do in fact enable future asset transfers to a beneficiary or beneficiaries that you choose. However, this does not constitute a well thought out, comprehensive estate plan.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at joint ownership. You can add a joint owner to things that you own, such as your house or your bank accounts.
If you pass away and there is a joint owner, this owner would become the sole owner of the property in question. And not only that, but the transfer would take place outside of the oftentimes costly and time-consuming process of probate.
All the above can sound fantastic. You may make a trusted family member the co-owner and feel as though you now have an estate plan.
In truth, there are some huge risks involved if you choose to make someone the co-owner of your property. You have to understand the fact that this individual would have just as much access to the assets as you do. He or she could spend the funds indiscriminately.
Additionally, any creditors or claimants seeking redress from the co-owner would have every right to go after the joint assets.
There is also the matter of distributing the assets among other family members after you die. You may instruct the co-owner to do this in a particular way, but he or she may have different ideas when the time comes.