Property Deeds: Eliminating Probate and Family Ugliness2 min read
One of the uglier sides to death can be the financial issues that happen after the person has died. During an illness, the person that will subsequently die is only focusing on getting better. They are probably not thinking about dying. So, while they are fighting for their lives, the last thing they need to think about is the financial crap show that will sometime be inevitable upon their death. So, discussing deeds and such before the illness is the best way to avert such uncomfortable topics and proactive.
Money and death can be a combination that leads toward ugliness 99.999% of the time. Having a bit of knowledge about deeds can avert said ugliness as it pertains to real state, which can be the ugliest part of death. That is primarily because real estate can be worth quite a bit of money and money can bring out the ugliness in most people.
Below are some of the ways to take ownership of a property.
🔸Sole Ownership: Property owned by a single, unmarried, individual. This type of ownership is subject to probate if the owner dies.
🔸Tenants in Common: Property is owned by multiple parties. This type of ownership can be owned in different percentages and is not always equal ownership between parties.
- Ownership is NOT passed to the other owners automatically with the death of one owner.
- Ownership CAN be passed to another by will.
- Ownership is subject to probate.
🔸Joint Tenants: Property owned by two people. These two people can be married or not married.
- If owned by a married couple and one dies, the property automatically goes to the surviving spouse. This property will not be transferred by will or trust.
- If owners are NOT married, the ENTIRE property is a part of the deceased estate and must go through probate.
🔸Joint Tenants with the Right of Survivorship: Is a form of co-ownership, but different than tenants in common. The property is held in joint ownership.
- One owner of the joint tenant can pass their interest in the property to another person.
- When a joint tenant dies, that person’s interest passes on to the remaining joint owners.
- Ownership passes automatically WITHOUT probate.
- Ownership SUPERSEDES WILLS and is not a part of the deceased persons estate.
I am personally familiar with a situation where a property owner wanted to make sure properties ended up with their person of choice and avoid family ugliness, probate, and litigiousness. The goal was realized through deeds using Joint Tenants with the right of survivorship.
If you are interested in pursuing changes to your deed, it is best to contact a title company or real estate, attorney.
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