The Best Methods of Passing Down Real Estate
The real estate you own is often your most valuable single asset, so it is important to give it some special consideration when planning your estate. While you can use a will to leave behind real property, you should be aware that doing so means the property will pass through probate, which is something you may want to avoid.
So what are some of the alternative methods of passing down real estate? Here are a few examples:
- Living trusts: Living trust documents indicate who will get the property and who will be the “trustee,” which, until your death, will usually be you. You change the title for the property to indicate the trustee is the new owner, but during your life you still remain in full control of the property and are able to transfer it from the trust at any time. Upon your death the successor trustee takes care of the official transfer to your named beneficiary, bypassing probate.
- Co-ownership: Property can pass after your death without probate if you jointly own it with the person you would like to receive it after your death. The drawback to this method is that it gives the other person an ownership interest in the property during your life, so, you definitely want to consult a lawyer before taking this step.
- Beneficiary deeds: In some locations you can bypass probate by using a “transfer-on-death” deed, or a beneficiary deed, (which is not available in Florida) to pass your property on to your desired beneficiary. Upon your death, your property in the deed passes to the named beneficiaries without probate being necessary.
For more information about passing down real estate and bypassing the probate process, contact an experienced Tampa, FL estate planning lawyer at BaumannKangas Estate Law.