Is there a ‘best’ way to handle real estate in estate planning? Yes, and no. Yes, there’s a best way. But it’s never the same. Know your options, and then choose what best suits your needs. But no matter what approach you choose (e.g., using a revocable trust, a beneficiary deed, or joint tenancy), you’ve got to begin by researching the chain of title. Otherwise, whether you have one property or many, your heirs will be left with a mess. And it happens all the time. Why? Because while it may seem simple, it’s not. There are dozens (dozens) of ways to mess things up. Luckily, there are folks who can answer your questions, and clean things up.
Did you buy the property from the actual owner? Are the details (names, dates, legal description, etc.) correct from the prior deed? Is the prior deed correct? Will you (or worse, your heirs) need to file correction deeds? Will this blow a deal? Did you assume title was in joint tenancy, when it was actually tenants-in-common? And what difference does that make, anyway? Then, of course, there are those pesky tax and creditor protection issues to consider. Are you giving your heirs a tax burden by gifting them property before you die? And what about that trust for the kids? Will title flow into it, as intended?
If you’re not sure, pick up the phone and call us. Doing it ‘right’ now is always the best approach.