Does joint tenancy avoid probate?

Sometimes. After the death of a joint tenant, that per­son’s interest in real property must be terminated to give clear title to the surviving joint tenant. This can be done in one of three ways. The surviving joint tenant, personal representative, attorney or affiant with personal matters within the affidavit, may terminate the joint tenancy by filing an affidavit and certified copy of the death certifi­cate with the county clerk. Probate proceedings are not required. If the surviving tenant is not the spouse, a court proceeding called termination of joint tenancy is required to clear title. This procedure is simpler and less costly than probating the entire estate. Finally, if other assets of the decedent require the estate to be judicially administered, the joint tenancy is severed as a part of the administration proceedings.
For small estates passing completely to a spouse, joint tenancies can save the expense of administering the estate on the death of the first to die. Joint tenancies in a large marital estate or joint tenancies with someone who is not your spouse, while saving the cost of “probate,” may have unanticipated consequences costing your family a far greater amount than the probate of a will. Please consult with an attorney.