Joint Tenancy as a Planning Tool

I typically advise that a relationship of joint tenancy with respect to real estate, between spouses, is a sensible choice to simplify ones affairs. In that scenario all that is required for the survivor to take complete title, upon the unfortunate passing of their loved one, is that they bring in to our office a copy of the death certificate, and we can then quickly and cost effectively take care of the transfer.

I typically advise that a parent NOT put their children on title with them as joint tenants unless it is an only child, who is financially and personally secure, and the parent clearly intends to gift their interest in the property to their child, at that time, with no reservations. There are many potential future problems such as divorce, judgments, falling out with the parent that may arise so really it is not a particularly good idea usually.

If a parent comes in and tells me that they want to save on the probate fees by putting their child onto the title as a joint tenant and that they trust their child to divide everything up fairly between his / her siblings I tell them that I respectfully decline to be involved, they reason being that there is a good chance that they will all end up in the Supreme Court of British Columbia.