Many older adults are focused on (and sometimes obsessed with) creating joint accounts or owning real property jointly with children or other family members in their later years. Caution is advised here! Although there are many reasons why the joint ownership of property with children or other non-spouses may not be advisable, failure to understand what constitutes a completed gift for income tax purposes in the creation of joint property ownership can inadvertently thwart the intentions of an older adult by costing donee family members substantial and unnecessary income tax (capital gain) at the time of the sale of the property.
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