More information located on the state's court website:
What is joint tenancy?
Joint tenancy is a way for two or more people to own property in equal shares so that when one of the joint tenants dies, the property can pass to the surviving joint tenant(s) without having to go through probate court.
Does joint tenancy have tax implications?
Yes. If a joint tenant dies, the property is included in his or her taxable estate. Talk to a lawyer before putting property in joint tenancy or ending a joint tenancy.
How do I create a joint tenancy?
You must have a written document, like a deed to real property or title to a car, that says the property is in joint tenancy with the names of the joint tenants.
What kinds of property do people put in joint tenancy?
The most common assets owned jointly are real property (land or buildings), bank accounts, stocks and bonds and automobiles.
How do I change the title on real property after the other tenant dies?
You do not have to go to court. But, you need:
- A certified copy of the death certificate of the joint tenant who died
- An Affidavit signed by "anyone with knowledge of the facts"
You can change the tile using a form called “Affidavit of Death of Joint Tenant.” [See the Sample Affidavit below.]
There may be tax consequences. So, talk to a lawyer before you record the Affidavit.
How do I prepare an Affidavit?
You can use this Sample Form. It is not an official form, but you can use it for most cases.
AFFIDAVIT OF DEATH OF JOINT TENANT
STATE OF CALIFORNIA
COUNTY OF ALAMEDA
I, [affiant's name], being duly sworn, say:
I am 18 years of age or over. The decedent described in the attached certified copy of Certificate of Death is the same person as [name of person who died here], who is named as one of the parties in the deed dated [date], executed by [name of grantor] to [name of decedent] and [name of surviving joint tenant], as joint tenants, recorded on [date], in [ e.g., Book __, page __] of the Official Records of Alameda County, California, covering the property situated in [city], Alameda County, California, described as follows:
[Provide legal description]
Subscribed and sworn to before me on [date]
___[Typed name]__ [Seal] Notary Public for the State of California
To read more about the law on this topic, see Probate Code Section 210-212.
How do I record an Affidavit?
Take a certified copy of the death certificate of the deceased joint tenant and your affidavit to the recorder's office in the county where the real property is located. How do I handle bank accounts held in joint tenancy?
In most cases, you can remove the deceased person’s name from the accounts by taking these documents to the bank:
- A certified copy of the death certificate of the deceased joint tenant, and
- A check drawn for the balance of the checking account, or
- The savings account passbook.