Estate Planning Law

Using the Right of Survivorship in Your Estate Plan

You might have heard the term, but you have been afraid to ask the question “What does the right of survivorship mean?” Well, in this article, we are going to discuss the question “What does the right of survivorship mean?” and we will go a step further to inform you about how the right of survivorship can help immensely with your estate planning.

Frankly, there are a lot of terms of art’ in the estate planning world, and the “right of survivorship” is among them. That said, estate planning does not have to be a big mystery to the unanointed.  Thus, we at Doane & Doane take pride in helping our clients understand the common-sense principles behind all of the legalese.  

If, after reading this article, you have additional questions about your own probate and estate planning, then we welcome you to contact the Palm Beach County lawyers at Doane & Doane, PA. Call today at 561-656-0200 or fill out our online contact form.

So, What Does Right of Survivorship Mean?

The right of survivorship is essentially the right of one person to take ownership of another person’s property upon the death of that other person.  Stated differently, if two people buy an asset (like a house) together, and both of their names are on the title or deed to that property, then each individual has a right of survivorship.  That right of survivorship means that one individual takes the whole piece of property if the other dies first.  Hence the phrase “right of survivorship,” because the “survivor” of the two people has a “right” to the jointly owned property. 

What is so powerful about the right of survivorship is that the process is automatic.  As soon as one individual dies, that deceased individual’s share of the property passes to the surviving person on the title.  There is no need for a probate or other court proceeding.  The right of survivorship simply kicks in at the death of the other joint owner.  It is a form of automatic inheritance.  

Joint ownership of a piece of property is common in a marriage.  Normally, a married couple jointly owns their house, and when one spouse passes, the surviving spouse gets full ownership of the house.  

How Does the Right of Survivorship Play Help Your Estate Planning?

Having answered the question: “what does the right of survivorship mean?” the next step is to discuss the estate planning benefits of the right of survivorship.  There are four main benefits:  

1. It makes sense. First and foremost, the idea of the right of survivorship is a common-sense principle.  If a married couple owns a piece of property, and one spouse dies, it would be unfair to force the surviving spouse to go to court or go through some other process in order to establish that she can continue living in her family home.  The right of survivorship makes legal that which already makes common sense, that the surviving spouse can continue to live in the home in which she has been living, likely for many years.

2. Efficient transfer of property upon an owner’s death.  Changing the ownership of property can be an arduous process, and property ownership can sometimes be difficult to trace after many years.  Thus, having a tool that allows for the easy transfer of property is a net gain for the parties and the community.    

3. Ensures that property ownership remains within a family or business.  The right of survivorship allows the property to stay within a group of people unless there has been an explicit change or sale of the asset.  

4. Establishes certaintyCompanies thrive on certainty and predictability.  It allows a business to effectively plan for the future without having to account for too many variables.  The right of survivorship can give a business that owns the property the desired certainty and stability.  When a business can expect to continue at a property even if one property owner dies, that allows the business to allocate costs and resources more effectively. 

Incorporate the Right of Survivorship Into Your Estate Plan with Doane & Doane

Founded in 2003 by husband and wife legal team, Randell C. Doane and Rebecca G. Doane, Doane & Doane provides legal and financial services to families, individuals, and businesses throughout Southeast Florida.

Estate planning is about much more than just giving away property.  It is an act of love and kindness, with the ultimate goal of providing for the future financial security of your loved one.  At Doane & Doane, our tax and estate professionals help people plan for retirement, consider various types of wills and trusts, make provisions for loved ones, figure out future child support, and minimize tax liability.  Experienced wills and trusts attorneys know which tools to use to get the best results for their clients.  Our lawyers can help you determine which tools are best suited to your specific circumstances.

When it comes to probate matters, such as the formal administration of an estate, Florida fiduciaries seek the assistance of the attorneys at Doane & Doane, P.A. to administer and manage their trusts and estates.  Notably, the founding partners of Doane & Doane are board-certified West Palm Beach Probate Attorneys.  With the additional advantage of certified public accountancy in their backgrounds, they present a unique combination of skills and experience which enables them to effectively settle, administer, and manage clients’ trusts and estates.

Since the day we opened our doors, we have worked hard to earn a reputation as one of the region’s most prominent tax and estate planning law firms in Palm Beach County, Florida. Our dynamic team includes the firm’s founding partners, experienced associate attorneys, and an outstanding team of paralegals, legal assistants, and support

Call the Palm Beach County lawyers at Doane & Doane, P.A.  You can reach us at 561-656-0200.  Call us today.

The information in this blog post is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice. You should not make a decision whether or not to contact an attorney based upon the information in this blog post. No attorney-client relationship is formed nor should any such relationship be implied. If you require legal advice, please consult with an attorney licensed to practice in your jurisdiction.