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How to hold title so that your home won’t pass through probate

On Behalf of | Sep 15, 2020 | Estate Planning

Real estate holdings may represent the biggest individual assets that you have. The people that you love may have a significant interest in maintaining their ownership or residency in the home that you currently inhabit even after your death.

Complications with your estate can lead to a loved one losing their residence at the property or at least dealing with complicated delays that can affect everything from where they live to how much they have to pay in real estate taxes on the property.

The good news is that the house doesn’t necessarily have to pass through probate when you die if you take steps now as part of your estate planning process to ensure the quick and simple transfer of title to your loved ones at your time of death.

How you hold title determines how the courts handle the property

If you are the only owner of the home and your estate lines up in probate, it could be months before your loved ones are able to assume title. If you already know who you want to live in the home, especially if they currently reside there with you, you can change the way that you hold title on the property to speed up the transfer of ownership when you die.

Changing simple ownership into joint tenancy with rights of survivorship will mean that the person on title with you inherits your share of the property when you die without needing to go through the probate courts or wait for estate administration.

It’s important to understand that joint tenancy with rights of survivorship means that your interest in the property also passes to the surviving owner. That means that if you leave it to your spouse, your children won’t inherit your share of the property’s value unless your spouse chooses to pass the asset to them at the time of their death.

There may be other options for real estate transfers as well

Changing the way that you hold title to joint tenants with rights of survivorship is a quick and straightforward way to ensure the smooth succession of property ownership when you die. However, it’s not the only solution available to those with real estate holdings who don’t want the property to wind up in probate court.

Transferring ownership of the property to trust might be another option that you want to explore when determining the best estate planning strategy for the transfer of valuable real estate holdings. Discussing your wishes and currently deed can be a good starting point for this process.