How Is Property Transferred After Someone Passes Away?


When you create a will, you lay out the plans for how your property will pass to chosen beneficiaries when you pass away. However, your will is not the only instrument through which you can transfer property, and you may wish to communicate with a local estate planning lawyer to discuss alternatives.

After a person passes away, the ownership of any property must transfer to another party. This is especially important as it relates to real estate. Property owned as tenants-in-common or owned individually becomes subject to probate in that state.

How long you have to transfer the property will depend on the regulations of your jurisdiction, and the court will determine who receives the property based on interstate succession laws or a valid will. The court may also require that the property be sold in order to distribute money to beneficiaries or to satisfy debts. The new owner of the property will have to get a new deed for the home from the area recorder’s office. Receiving a new deed can take some time.

You may use a transfer-on-death instrument, like a deed or a living trust to allow property to pass directly to someone else outside of probate. Note that California laws now require two witnesses to oversee the signing of a transfer on death deed and both must be there at the same time. Deciding which of these methods is most appropriate for your estate planning intentions requires a conversation with an attorney who was familiar with you and your estate planning goals. Set up a time now to walk through your comprehensive estate plan and to discuss methods for transferring property after you pass away.

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