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Titling of Assets
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Another way assets pass at death is through titling of assets.

  • If you own an account with another individual titled as Jointly Owned with Rights of Survivorship (JTWROS), it will pass to the surviving owner directly upon your death.
  • Many states allow married couples to own property titled as Jointly Owned as Tenants by the Entirety (TBE). This titling passes assets in the same manner as JTWROS, but provides additional liability protections.
  • Assets held Jointly Owned as Tenants in Common (TIC) do not pass directly to the surviving owner, but instead go through the probate process. 
As you can see, it is important to understand the exact titling of jointly owned assets.

Caution!  Although the titling of assets can accomplish your estate planning objectives, it can create liability issues.

  • Assets may also be owned in the name of a Trust. A Trust is a legal agreement that is set up to manage assets for one or more beneficiaries. The terms of the Trust dictate how the assets will be distributed.

Special rules apply to community property states. If you live in a community property state, all assets earned or accumulated during marriage may be considered community property, regardless of title.

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