October 31, 2011
Authored by: Luke Lantta
Joint tenant with right of survivorship accounts are commonly used to transfer assets outside of probate. They also tend to lead to a lot of estate litigation. The concept of a JTWROS account is simple enough: the tenants have an equal right to the account’s assets and the survivor gets the assets when the other account holder dies.
What if someone doesn’t want to make an inter vivos gift of his or her cash or other valuable personal property, but instead wants it to be transferred outside of probate upon his or her death? Can something like a joint tenant with right of survivorship safe deposit box work? If your plan is to use a ‘joint’ safe deposit box, then you better pay careful attention to the safe deposit box contract. At least that was what was decided by the Georgia Court of Appeals in Longstreet v. Decker.