Methods of Transferring Real Estate Upon One’s Death
If there are real estate assets in your estate, those assets are probably the most valuable items you own. This means you should be careful about choosing who assumes ownership of real estate upon your passing.
How you transfer ownership of real estate depends largely on how you own the property in question. Below are some types of property ownership and how they can be transferred to beneficiaries through estate planning:
- Sole ownership: If you are the only owner of the real estate, the property will likely need to go through probate to be transferred to whomever inherits it. If the property is placed in trust, however, it could bypass probate.
- Joint tenancy: If the property was owned in joint tenancy, the surviving co-owner automatically becomes the owner of the property, with no probate necessary.
- Tenants by the entirety: If the deceased owned the property with his or her spouse, the property was likely held in tenancy by the entirety. The surviving spouse would become the sole owner without probate being necessary.
- Tenancy in common: Co-owners rarely own real estate as tenants in common, but it may occur if the co-owners inherited the land (such as siblings inheriting property from parents) or if the owners were in business together. In these circumstances, each co-owner may name his or her own beneficiary in their respective wills. Probate will be required to transfer interest in the property.
- Trust: Real estate held in trust must have a recent deed indicating the property was transferred to the trustee.
For further guidance on transferring real estate in your will or trust, work with an experienced Florida estate planning attorney at BaumannKangas Estate Law.