Posted: June 3, 2020

Have you made sure that your spouse is the beneficiary on all your investments and life insurance policies? What about your house, car and RV trailers?

Several times a year, our office is hired to Probate a Will because a spouse has passed away and it wasn’t until after the death that the surviving spouse realized everything was not jointly owned. This can be a heartbreaking situation, especially when the couple has been together for many decades and no one thought to check the title to the home.

In one recent case, a wife came into our office and was shocked to learn that she had been married for 50 years and was jointly on her husband’s property. She was confused and angry about why the couple’s old lawyer would have made them “Tenants in Common” and not “Joint Tenants.”  This problem is quite common and usually arises on property that was purchased in the 1970s and 1980s when lawyers often registered the titles without including the phrase “Joint Tenants” on the transfer of land.

If you own a house with someone and want it to pass to them upon your death, look for the words “Joint Tenants” after both your and your spouse’s name.

If the title says “Tenants In Common” contact our office today to discuss the legal ramifications of holding title this way.  Our lawyers are very experienced in real estate law and can help you with the process of changing your documents with Alberta Land Titles and if necessary your Will.  Call us. We are here to help!