Mary Kennedy's suicide house is up for sale.
The 14 room Bedford house is listed at $3,995,000, reports The Associated Press.
While Mary Kennedy didn't die in that house, she did hang herself in a different house on that estate.
We don't have details on the ownership of the house but it brings us to a good discussion on joint tenancy and how it plays into an estate plan.
Whether this house was part of Mary Kennedy's overall probate estate, we don't know.
But lets assume for a moment that the couple owned the house together, in a joint tenancy. What would the effect of the death of one spouse have on the overall house and its disposition in a will?
For starters, a house that is owned in joint tenancy can't be disposed of in a will that easily.
Joint tenancy is a form of home ownership that comes with a right of survivorship. That means that if a spouse passes away, the other spouse automatically gets the house in full.
Sometimes, a spouse may declare in his will that his 50% share of the house is to be distributed in a certain manner.
That can cause problems, if the house is held under a joint tenancy, because there will be no 50% share in his probate estate. That share will have already passed to the spouse.
So, if you want to have ownership of your house and you don't want your 50% to pass to your surviving spouse upon your death, it's important to talk to an estate planning attorney to figure out how you can avoid this.
For starters, you may want to sever the joint tenancy and create a co-tenancy.
If you're unsure of how your property is held, pull up your deed from the county recorder's office. It will give you an idea of how your property is held.
Talk to a New York estate planning lawyer. Have a look at our directory below.
- Search Directory of New York Estate Planning Lawyers (FindLaw)
- 5 Things Not to Include in Your Will (FindLaw's Law & Daily Life)
- Avoiding Probate With Joint Tenancy (FindLaw's New York Estate Planning News)