Owning real estate at death may force your family into the lengthy and burdensome process of transferring the deed from your name through the probate process. In order to avoid this future trouble, there are several ways that you can proactively transfer the deed in advance.
- Hold the real estate with the right of survivorship.
By transferring the property to be owned in joint tenancy, the property will be in both your name and a surviving family member’s name. This will avoid confusion and having to prove that they are the rightful owner during the probate process.
- Convey outright title to real estate through a pre-death gift.
By giving title to a surviving family member before death, you have fully transferred ownership and the property will not be part of your estate subject to probate.
- Create a trust to hold and own the real estate.
By creating a trust to hold the real estate, you are setting the property aside so that at death, an appointed trustee will manage it according to the trust document. This avoids probate and depending on the type of trust used, you may be able to change, modify, or revoke up until the time of death.
- Use a beneficiary deed to transfer the real estate upon death.
By implementing a beneficiary deed (also knows as a transfer-on-death deed), you are authorizing that at your death, you are transferring the property to the name beneficiary. Up until death, you retain ownership and control of the property.
Each of the above options for transferring real property has complex potential issues that should be considered in determining what option best fits your needs, including tax issues and potential claims by creditors against both you or the beneficiary.
Every individual’s property and wishes are unique, effecting which option for transferring real property dependent on the specific person’s needs. The attorneys at Simpson, Jensen, Abels, Fisher & Bouslog, P.C. are experienced in handling complex estate issues. Contact us at (515) 288-5000 to discuss your real property with our firm.
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