Estate Planning

Survivorship Rights in Arizona

Survivorship Rights in Arizona

Joint Tenants with right of survivorship in Arizona

Read our article to understand a little bit more about survivorship rights in the state of Arizona and how that can affect you.

The state of Arizona is a Community property state. Property law in Arizona falls under ARS Tittle 33 of the Arizona Revised Statutes and joint tenancy with right of survivorship is under ARS Tittle 33-431 of the same Statutes.

When multiple people own property in Arizona they will usually be referred to as concurrent estate. The owners ( or tenants) are usually referred to as tenants in common or joint tenants.

Right of survivorship is not as easy topic and it can alter the default distribution of your property to your heirs. Consult with an estate planning attorney or an Arizona probate attorney to make sure your estate plan achieves your goals.

Some of our clients want to avoid probate. Others want to make sure their surviving spouse will get their property when they pass away. That is specially important when we talk about estate planning for blended families. You may want your new spouse and your children from a previous marriage to get a share of the property when you pass away.

When the deed has tenants in common with right of survivorship in it the owner of the property after the first person passes away will be the other co-owner or the other co-owners. For example if the owners of the property are initially a husband and wife after the first spouses passes the property will then be 100% owned by other spouse. The lat surviving spouse will own it.

Real estate and real property in general represent a big part of most peoples savings. It is important to make sure all your property title is done correctly and it will go to the person that you want in your estate.

Property held in Trust is treated in a different way, talk to a wills and trust lawyer in Chandler if you want to understand how to set up a living trust and correctly title your property that will be held in Trust for your own benefit.

See below a list of common asked questions when we see clients in our office. That will help you understand community property rules from our state a little bit better.

Frequently Asked Question about Survivorship Rights in AZ:

1) Is it possible to remove right of survivorship from deed?

An attorney can help you with it. Right of survivorship can be removed from a deed if all co-owners involved agree with it. In case they disagree a process will have to be open in court to contest the ownership of the property.

Right of survivorship may have tax implications as well, make sure to talk to an attorney before removing or gifting property to someone else.

Also make sure to talk to an attorney if you are selling the property below market value. That can cause tax issues with the IRS as it may be seeing as a gift to the buyer.

2) What does joint tenancy with right of survivorship means?

Joint tenancy with right of survivorship means that 2 or more people own the same equal interest in the property. They are co owners and they own the property together. The last surviving person will get the property specified in the deed.

Joint tenancy can be specially problematic when we are dealing with a blended family. Children from a previous marriage will no longer be heirs if the new spouse passes away before. A right of survivorship deed is a great way to avoid probate but it is also an easy way to remove heirs from property if the surviving owner is the spouse that joined the marriage later. The property will go automatically to the surviving spouse and the previous children will no longer have any interest in the property.

We usually recommend the creation of a living trust that becomes irrevocable after the passing of the first spouse when blended families are involved. There are different ways to make sure your estate doesn't go to probate and the ownership of your property stays within your blood line.

3) What is a community property with right of survivorship deed?

This time of deed is usually used for married couples. A right of survivorship deed allows married people to share a property title (co ownership) where both have equal shares. When the first spouse passes away the surviving spouse will own the property alone. By having a survivorship deed in place Probate can be avoided. Arizona is a community property state.

To avoid probate when the second spouse passes away a different type of deed will be needed. We recommend that you consult with a Probate Attorney in Arizona, Chandler to design an estate planning that works for your needs. Right of survivorship deed is a great instrument when used correctly but it will not avoid probate entirely if not properly done.

4) Are there any taxes implications with right of survivorship deeds?

We recommend that you talk to a CPA or Tax attorney to understand how taxes work for your specific estate. Depending of the size of the estate and the family dynamics a right of survivorship may or may not have tax implications.

5) What does "tenancy by the entirety" means?

Tenancy by the entirety means that all co owners of the property own the property 100% and they all have a right to occupy it as joint tenants. "Tenancy by the entirety" is usually referred to as TBE. When the first owner passes away the ownership of the property transfers to the surviving co owner (or co owners).

Real estate that has a "tenancy by the entirety" deed may avoid probate but it also may disinherit family members unintentionally. That is specially true when there is a blended family with children from a previous marriage.

6) What does joint tenant in common means?

Joint tenants in common is usually referred as JTIC and it usually refer to property owned where rights of survivorship do not apply. It means that each individual own a specific part of the property and on their passing the other individuals will not have a right of survivorship to that specific portion.

7) Can you be joint tenants if you are not married?

Yes, joint tenants allow people that are not spouses to own property. It allows for two or more people to have interest in the property (either real estate, personal property or intellectual property).

Call Citadel Law Firm today to talk about your estate planning

It doesn't matter if you are a blended family or just a single person, we will design the perfect estate planning for you. Citadel Law Firm specializes in estate planning and probate, our estate planning attorneys in Chandler, AZ will be pleased to help you.

Call (480) 565-8020 or click in the button below to schedule your free estate planning consultation. We are here to help you.