Sirkin Law Group, P.C.






Estate & Elder Law Attorneys can advise you about joint tenancy problems



21550 Oxnard St #300

Woodland Hills CA 91367


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  Woodland Hills Elder Law

Mina Sirkin, Woodland Hills Estate Law & Joint Tenancy Attorney
Board Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, Trusts and Probate Law

   Trust Litigation Los Angeles

   Probate Litigation Los Angeles

    Conservatorship Los Angeles

    Living Trust Attorney Los Angeles


We are frequently asked to advise clients regarding problems which can arise from holding title to assets in joint tenancy with your children.   Joint tenancies used to be a popular realtor recommended method of taking title to real estate, to avoid probate at first death in California.   Most people do not understand consequences of joint tenancies.


1. Generally, a joint tenancy is created to avoid entering court proceeding in probate at the death of the first joint tenant. However, it does not avoid probate at the death of the second joint tenant unless he/she puts that asset in his / her own trust after the first joint tenant dies.  If you leave an asset in joint tenancy, the surviving joint tenant will received it, and it will not be distributed according to your will or trust.

2. Owning a property in joint tenancy can force the property to being tied up in your joint tananty's bankruptcy or creditors' claims.

3. If you put your married child on title, and a mortgage is paid during his marriage, in the event of his divorce, his spouse can ask that the court deem the property partially community in nature, if your child pays the mortgage from their community wages. This ties up your property in their divorce proceeding.

4. How about taxes?  When a person leaves an asset to a child in trust, there is a step-up in basis which avoids a large capital gains tax. When you put an asset in joint tenancy with your child during your life, this huge benefit is lost and there is no step-up to the date of death value as to the interest you gave your child during your life.

5. Joint Tenancies can completely thwart a personís estate plan. For example, if you leave all of your assets in your will to all of your children, but leave one child as a joint tenant on one property, the child on title will inherit all of that one property and your entire estate will not pass equally to your children.   This makes your children very unhappy with each other.

6. If you give a joint tenancy interest to a child while you are alive, and the value of the tenancy is more than $14,000, you have to file a gift tax return for it, and use some of your lifetime exemption.

7. What about at incapacity?  A Joint tenancy is not a protection in the event of incapacity. If you put a child on title, you must obtain a power of attorney from him/ her so that if he/she is incapacitated, you can sell the property. Likewise, if you become incapacitated, the child you put on title will necessarily need to have a Durable power of attorney from you to be able to sell the property in the event of your incapacity.

8. If you put a child on title, you will need that childís consent to sell the entire property in the future. Remember that your son or daughter-in-law may influence your child in this decision.

9. If you want to go borrow on a property which has your child as a joint tenant on title, you will need to get the consent of the child to borrow on your own property.

10.  If you have a tenant in the jointly owned property whom you want to evict, you will need the permission or consent of the other joint tenant.  If the tenant is your co-owner, you cannot evict him or her, by yourself.

11.  What about property taxes?  If you forget to obtain a Parent-Child exclusion from reassessment from the County Assessor, your property tax will be reassessed. There are several form that have to be prepared to enable your property to escape reassessment at the time of transfer to your child.


A. Call us and put your house in your revocable living trust and leave it to your children at your death.

To discuss more aspects of joint tenancies, call our probate attorney at 818.340,447 in Los Angeles. Each attorney at Sirkin Law Group, P.C. has over 22 years of experience in joint tenancy issues in Los Angeles Ca.

Joint Tenancy Attorney
Mina N. Sirkin and Evan R. Sirkin are partners at the Law Offices of Sirkin and Sirkin, and elder law and estate law firm in Woodland Hills.  We have helped thousands of people with advance elder law planning in Los Angeles County to reach their goals. To reach our elder law and trust attorneys by telephone, please call 818.340.4479 or email us at




Main Office:

21550 Oxnard Street, Third Floor
Woodland Hills, CA 91367
Phone:  818. 340. 4479
Fax:      818. 340. 7952

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Los Angeles, CA 90064
Tel: 800-300-9977


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Los Angeles, CA 90071
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Glendale, CA 91203
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Pasadena, CA 91101
Tel: 800-300-9977   



 If you would like to get more information regarding probate and joint tenancies in Los Angeles, California, click here.


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