The Legal Dos and Don’ts of Real Estate
Buying and owning property is mostly an exciting and fulfilling life experience. The only aspects of it that can feel dry and boring are the legal ones, which include everything from drawing up the initial deed to including it in your final will to be passed on after your death.
Of all the things you include in your estate plan—life insurance, bank accounts, jewelry, art/collectibles, investments, and furniture—the most important is your property, be it a residential house or a vacation home, or even a rental property. For your loved ones to enjoy these the same even after your death, you need to make sure all the legalities are in place.
Here are a few things to keep in mind while handling real estate:
DO: Place the Vacation Home in A Revocable Trust
If you want the next generation to truly enjoy the vacation home without carrying the baggage of legalities and responsibilities they didn’t exactly sign up for, placing it in a trust should help.
Firstly, it would escape lengthy probate. Secondly, you can specify exactly how you want the vacation home to be used and maintained during and after your life with a trust. And most importantly, with smart estate planning—we’re talking Qualified Personal Residence Trust, of course—you could also save estate tax significantly.
DON’T: Skip Out on A Will
Making a will may seem like a hassle, especially because it isn’t really necessary to pass down real estate. However, legal experts highly recommend it because it makes the whole process ever so easier.
Without a will, your property will still get passed on to your immediate heirs and relatives based on the law in your state, but in case you want a say in who ends up with what exactly, making a will is the only way to do it.
Through a will, you can keep the property from being split up, divide it the way you wish, or even pass it down to someone outside the family.
DO: Get A Property Lawyer on Board
From the moment you purchase the property to the time of your death, you need professional expertise on how to go about its legal paperwork in order to keep things streamlined.
There are many different kinds of deeds, and you may not know the ins and outs of each kind, so having a property lawyer to reviews and prepare the deed with you is a good step. Similarly, when you’re including your real estate in the estate plan, you need to have legal counsel to ensure that the property can pass on to your loved ones with minimal legal hurdles after your death.
So, if you’re in the process of creating an estate plan, get the experts on board.
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