When a death occurs, the number of issues that must be dealt with range from financial to legal to emotional. When the deceased owned a home, it must be established to whom the property transfers. There are four common ways to transfer property after death but the most common and simplest is to establish a revocable living trust naming a benefactor who will inherit the home. The other three options include defining the ownership of the property in the deed (this poses problems because you may want to transfer it to someone other than the person also listed on the deed), a will or by common law.
Establish a revocable living trust.
Name in your revocable living trust the beneficiary or beneficiaries of the property.
Transfer the property into the trust. Make sure the transfer occurs before death. While this may seem obvious because of the nature of a revocable living trust, it is important that the property be placed in the trust. The trust can be amended throughout its tenure to change the benefactor if desired.
- While a trust is not the only option for passing on a home after death, it is the recommended option. If you choose to rely on common law, the wording of a will or a deed may create issues with legality. If you do choose one of the other two options to a revocable living trust, do the following: define ownership as joint tenants with right of survivorship naming the other person on the deed as the beneficiary or name the beneficiary in your will.
- Drafting a will that reenforces your decision for the property transfer makes it less likely there will be a debate over property transfers after your death.
- House image by GonÃ§alo Carreira from Fotolia.com