In the context of finance; the ownership or registration of an account or title to an asset conveys the right to make decisions regarding its management and disposition. The ownership may assigned to a third party known as a trustee, or property may be given outright to a new owner.
The most common forms of registration are individual and joint tenancy . In community property states, title or account registration may be community property. A less common type of shared ownership is tennancy in common. An IRA, 401k, or other qualified retirement plans is technically owned by a trust. As with any trust, there must be a grantor, a trustee, and a beneficiary. An IRA account registration will list an investment firm as a trustee and a “for benefit of” (FBO) beneficiary designation, which lists the account holder. An IRA that does not list a beneficiary will pass via the will, and some tax advantages will be lost.
Account and asset ownership and beneficiary designations should be made to work in concert with the estate plan documents.