Under South Dakota law, there are a variety of ways to title property. Title is the method in which property is owned. How property is titled impacts the drafting of your estate plan. In South Dakota, title is commonly held in three different ways: sole ownership, tenancy in common, and joint tenancy.
In a joint tenancy, two or more persons own the same property with their right of ownership subject to the other joint tenant’s ownership right. When one joint tenant passes away their interest in the property automatically is transferred to the surviving joint tenant. This is the common ownership form among married couples, and couples often do this to their property to avoid probate. However, when placing property in joint tenancy one must be cautious and contemplate the pros and cons of such an action because a joint tenant cannot leave their interest in the property to someone through their will.