Pros and cons of owning home as joint tenants

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Editor's note: Robert Bruss is temporarily away. The following column from Bruss' "Best of" collection first appeared Sunday, July 2, 2006. "How would you like to take title to your new home, Mr. and Mrs. Buyer?" the attorney or title closing settlement officer asks. Thinking fast, you wisely ask, "Well, how do most married couples take title?" Purchase Bob Bruss reports online. The reply is usually something like: "Most couples take title in joint tenancy." Not wanting to appear stupid or uninformed, you reply, "That's fine with us." But do you fully understand the pros and cons of holding joint-tenancy title? THE PRIMARY JOINT-TENANCY ADVANTAGES. To be legally correct, joint-tenancy real estate ownership means "joint tenancy with right of survivorship." A few states require use of those exact words on the deed. But in most states, "joint tenancy" is sufficient. Survivorship means the joint tenant who outlives the joint tenant co-owner(s) automatically receives the deceased's share of...