Joint tenants with rights of survivorship


Paul: Hi, Tom. My question is how do you title property or say bank accounts or security accounts between a husband and a wife? In other words, if the house is owned by the couple –

Attorney Tom Olsen: Paul, let me stop you for a minute, okay?

Paul: Yes.

Attorney Tom Olsen: Across the board, whether its real estate or CDs or savings bonds, as long as it has both a husband and wife’s name on the title and you're identified as husband and wife, then you are automatically joint tenants rights of survivorship. Does that answer your question, Paul?

Paul: It does. Only in Wall Street Journal today, you said that you must put in the joint tenants with the right of survivorship on the appraiser’s office where they have your name and address for the property.

Attorney Tom Olsen: No. Here in the State of Florida, simply by the fact that you are identified as husband and wife, got both your names and the words husband and wife, then you are automatically joints tenants with rights of survivorship, at least here in the state of Florida.

Paul: Okay, then if one passes, what does the other – do they just go to the office and say, “Hey, my husband died.”?

Attorney Tom Olsen: If your property is in Orange County and your wife were to pass away, the only thing you would have to do, Paul, is to record her death certificate in the public records of Orange County. It is that old deed together with her death certificate which will tell the whole world that you are now the sole owner and the title would be clear for you to sell it, refinance it.

Paul: And would that be the same on say CDs and that type of stuff?

Attorney Tom Olsen: It’ll be the same on CDs. There's no reason to take her name off CDs or bank accounts only if you want to. When you talk about going to the office, Paul, here in Orange County, you have your homestead exemption that saves you real estate taxes. There's also a widow and widower’s exemptions. If your wife were to pass away, you could go to the Orange County property appraisers and get an additional widower’s exemption that will save you some on real estate taxes.

Paul: I get it. Specifically, I do not have to put in joint tenants right of survivorship after our names.

Attorney Tom Olsen: Not for husband and wife. If it’s your brother, then you would have to have that language.

Paul: And what if it was in a security account via Schwab account or—

Attorney Tom Olsen: Best way to get that confirmed, Paul, is to talk to Schwab. They would be the best ones to confirm that for you.