If you own a home or several real properties, it’s is worth looking into how to transfer these upon death to avoid probate. A few options are: 1) creating a trust, 2) joint ownership, or 3) transfer on death deeds, also known as lady bird deeds here in Florida.
- · By creating a trust, and transferring the property into the trust, the person you name as successor trustee to take over after you pass away will have quick access to the trust assets and be able to distribute them according to the trust agreement. This will avoid the time and cost of going through probate.
- · If you own property joint tenants with rights of survivorship, when you pass away the entire property will pass directly to the other owner(s). However, don’t confuse this with joint tenants in common. With tenants in common, you own a portion of the property and when you pass away this portion will still have to go through the probate process to pass to your designated heir.
- · Transfer on death deed, Lady bird deed, Enhanced Life Estate Deed are all the same – the name depends on the state you’re in and not all states recognize this type of deed. In Florida it is known as a Lady Bird Deed and with this deed you maintain all ownership rights to the property but you can designate an heir to immediately receive the property upon your passing.
Do your research and speak with an estate planning lawyer to learn which option is best for your particular situation. Everyone’s situation is different and their estate plan should be tailored accordingly.
~Cristin Buell, Esquire 813-925-8083
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