Joint and Survivorship rights

Joint and survivorship property is property owned by two or more people, with a special feature: at the death of one of the co-owners, that interest passes to the surviving co-owner or co-owners.  For example, let’s say three people, X, Y and Z are joint owners of a piece of property with survivorship rights.  In this situation, X, Y and Z each own a 1/3 interest in the property.  If X were to die, her interest would pass to Y and Z:  Y and Z would then each own 1/2 of the property as joint tenants with rights of survivorship.  Ohio law requires that this special right in property be created in a specific way.

A useful feature of joint and survivorship property is that it does not need to pass through probate in order for it to transfer.  However, Ohio law requires certain steps to be taken in order for joint and survivor property to transfer to the surviving owners. This can be as simple as presenting a death certificate to the county auditor along with an affidavit drafted by an attorney.

Another useful feature of joint and survivorship property is that it not only applies to deeds and real estate.  Joint and survivorship rights can be applied to vehicle titles, as well as bank and investment accounts.  Mineral rights can also take joint and survivor form.

Please be aware that joint and survivorship rights are not always as beneficial as they may seem.  Conveyances made via joint and survivorship language can frequently trigger unfavorable tax consequences in the beneficiary.