A common phrase used in estate planning is the ‘rights of survivorship,’ particularly when it comes to owning real estate. But do you know what this phrase actually means in plain English?
The ‘rights of survivorship’ is the ownership of property by two or more people in which the survivors automatically gain ownership of another’s interest upon their death. In the case of more than one survivor, the decendent’s share is divided among the survivors.
For example – Harry and Sally are married and own their home as joint tenant with the rights of survivorship. When Harry dies, Sally automatically gains ownership of his interest in the home.
This concept is very important for estate planning, as it means that property owned with the rights of survivorship avoid probate, since the ownership passes automatically, rather than through the probate system.
An estate planning attorney can advise you of the best ownership form for your property, as it can be an important aspect of how your property will pass upon your death.