How is real estate transferred after death?

After a person’s demise, there are several things that the family members should look after. One of the essential things to do after the passing of a person is transferring the real estate to the new owner. Several factors come into play when transferring the deceased person’s real estate. Moreover, if more than one family member has been named the real estate’s inheritors, disputes and conflicts may arise. 

Such disputes and conflicts can be prevented if one hires the best elder law attorney near me to oversee the process of transferring real estate.

This blog highlights how real estate is transferred to the new owners after someone dies.

First thing first! Take Care of Real Estate.

After the demise of a person, their real estate and assets should be taken care of before transferring the ownership. The family members must look after the estate taxes, pay mortgages, and oversee the estate’s maintenance until it is transferred to the new owners.

Getting the property appraised to know its current monetary value is also essential for tax purposes. You may be required to get the property professionally evaluated if the estate is subjected to probate procedure. The appraisal helps in determining whether the estate should go through a regular probate process or simplified procedures.

When is the probate process not required for the transfer of real estate?

Probate procedural may not be required for the transfer of the real estate to the new owner in the following scenarios:

  • Someone is named the new owner by the deceased person through a living trust.
  • The property was held in joint ownership with someone else. In this case, the surviving co-owner automatically becomes the sole owner of the property.
  • Transfer-on-death deed was filed by the deceased person to transfer the property ownership. The transfer-on-death deed allows a person to designate someone the new owner of their property after their death.

There are several ways a person can own real estate. How the deceased person owned the property determines how it will get transferred to the new owners.

Sole ownership: If the deceased person was the sole owner of the property and no living trust or transfer-on-death deed was prepared to name the new owner, the estate will go through the probate process. Typically, the will dictates how and who will inherit the estate after one’s passing away. In the absence of a valid will, the intestate succession law guides how the property will be transferred. Since the probate process can be confusing and taxing, one should hire an elder attorney near me.

Joint Tenants: If the estate documents state that the property was jointly co-owned or was held in joint tenancy with the right of survivorship, the co-owner (if alive) will become the sole owner of the estate. In such a case, the probate process is not needed. However, the co-owner will have to prepare some documents to declare the property’s rightful ownership.  

Tenants by the Entirety: If the deceased person’s estate was held with their spouse, this arrangement might be considered as tenancy by the entireties in some states. There is no need for the probate process as the estate’s ownership is transferred to the surviving spouse.