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Addressing real property when estate planning

On Behalf of | Jan 24, 2024 | Estate Planning

Adults in Georgia may have certain goals for their legacy after they die or resources that they want to protect. Estate plans often focus on the most valuable assets that people currently own. For many Georgia residents, their single most valuable asset is likely the home where they live. A residence can be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. It can also become a source of family conflict after they die. Creditors may try to lay claim to their home equity, or their children may fight over who actually inherits the property.

The creation of an estate plan can help control what happens to valuable resources like real property after someone dies. The following are three of the most common solutions for addressing a home or other real property in a Georgia estate plan.

Naming a beneficiary in a will

Wills are the most common testamentary instruments used for estate planning purposes. People can identify property that they own and choose specific beneficiaries to inherit those resources in a will. A will can potentially facilitate the transfer of ownership to a specific beneficiary after someone dies.

Recording a new deed

People do not need to wait until after they die to grant an ownership interest to their chosen beneficiary. They can potentially record a deed while they are still alive that can allow for the smooth transfer of ownership after their passing. The type of deed depends on someone’s plans and circumstances. For example, someone arranging to transfer the home where they live with another person could sign a deed to take title as a joint tenant with rights of survivorship. The person living with them included on that deed can inherit their interest in the property after their death without it needing to pass through probate court.

Transferring ownership to a trust

People worried about Medicaid estate recovery efforts or creditor lawsuits may not want to directly hold the title to their home anymore as they age. They may also have unique plans for the property that require more oversight than a will can provide. Creating a trust and transferring ownership interest for the property to that trust may offer a variety of benefits. It can allow for someone to maintain tenancy at the property without getting control over it. It can protect the property from creditor claims. It can even keep the transfer of title out of probate court in many cases.

Thinking about one’s personal resources and long-term legacy goals may help people properly address assets like real estate in their Georgia estate plans as effectively as possible.