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If we own our house as joint tenants, do we still need a living trust?

Written by Judy Lei Li, Esq.

Although the surviving spouse can obtain the joint tenancy property without probate after the first spouse is deceased, things change when the couple are deceased simultaneously. In that situation, your house will have to go through the probate. In addition, when one spouse loses the capacity to act, it is difficult for the other spouse to sell or transfer the property. You might need to go to the court to apply for the conservatorship because the title company would probably expect the conservator to sign the grant deed and other documents on behalf of the disabled spouse. The legal procedure for conservatorship is complex and would incur high attorney fees. If you create a living trust and manage it properly, you can avoid the conservatorship, and it will save you much time and attorney fees.

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