You might be wondering about that house or condo you’ve left
in your will. Often, after a homeowner passes on, the real property is sold
from the estate to pay off debts. But maybe you have a relative who would like
to have and keep your home.
For the sake of exploring the question, say you still owe a $50,000
mortgage balance when you pass on. Of course, you could leave your beneficiary
enough money to pay your loan off, if you are financially able to do so. Or you
could pay it off early yourself.
But if you need to pass the home on with a mortgage, can
your beneficiary just keep your house or condo, and pick up the monthly mortgage
payments where you left off? At least the next owner would have a head start —
inheriting your home equity, and just paying what’s left on the balance.
Among the leading legal tools for passing wealth down
through generations is the QPRT. A qualified personal residence trust, or QPRT (“Q-pert”)
is a form of irrevocable
trust to pass a home to beneficiaries.
The QPRT effects an immediate conveyance of the house to the
trust. Nevertheless, the homeowner who establishes the trust (called the grantor)
continues to pay all related taxes, and continues to receive any associated tax
deductions, for a specified time. Indeed, the
grantor may live in the home rent-free, based on what’s termed a qualified
term interest,until the specified time when the house transfers to
Your home might be modest, yet it could still be subject to
federal or state estate tax together with the rest of your assets when you pass
on. This is especially so when government administrations set lower
thresholds for the minimum amount of a taxable estate.
A home can go into an irrevocable trust. But giving
up control over a primary residence is not something most owners want to do.
The owner lets go of the “incidents of ownership” and the house goes under a separate
tax ID, with taxes filed by a trustee. The owner might continue living in the
home, but the house essentially becomes a vessel to hold property for the named
Any homeowner’s financial circumstances and goals can change,
and so can their relationships with potential beneficiaries: family, friends,
and charities. This is why an irrevocable trust makes sense only in rare
revocable (living) trust, you can assume the role of trustee, and stay in
control of your real estate during your lifetime.
After you pass away, your living trust becomes a substitute
for probate. This is especially helpful if your estate would otherwise face multiple
probate processes because you have real estate in several locations. It is also
a helpful way to pass a home along to children when they become old enough to
receive it, as the trust can direct a title change to a child at a specified
If you need to modify your estate plan due to children
growing up, a marriage or divorce, or other significant changes in the makeup
of your household, or because of your age or physical needs, you may. You can take
the asset out of the trust, assign a new trustee, change your beneficiaries, or
modify other terms of your trust.
For many homeowners, this is the best of both worlds in
estate planning. You keep full control during your life, but seamlessly transfer
the home on when you pass on, avoiding the time, expense, and stress of
probate. Still, there are plenty of things to know before making this decision,
as we’ll observe in this article.
homeowner should die intestate. In plain English: Every homeowner needs a will.
By now, everyone knows life is fragile. Nobody has forever and
a day to put an estate plan down in writing.
And if you do leave things hanging, and you do pass away without
a will, or without some combination of a will and other instruments to convey
property, you’ll leave assets to be distributed under the state’s intestacy
laws. States try to send everything to your closest relatives, and if you’re single
without children, the state will contact siblings and so on, and pass your
property to them. That might be OK with you. But if you’re like most homeowners,
you’d prefer to decide for yourself.
If you’re a parent, it’ll be hard for your family to agree
on what to do without your written guidance. You also need a will to bequeath
assets to non-family members or nonprofits. You need a will, too, to explain
why you are not giving your home to a close family member if you choose not to.
Otherwise, you might be setting up a will contest after you pass.
When a person’s wishes are logically thought out and
expressed through a will, though, messy scenarios are far less likely to unfold.
When a person passes away, the death certificate and last
will are submitted to the county probate court. A person representative begins
the process of passing assets along as the will directs — except when other
valid legal instruments have priority. One of those instruments is the
all-important real estate deed.
Houses can be left to their owners’ chosen
beneficiaries through wills. But when someone who co-owns a house passes away, questions
may arise as to what the last will says versus what the deed says. In case of a
conflict, does the last will get the last word? Short answer: probably not. The
long answer starts with the
way the title is vested.
Survivorship Rights Vs. Tenancies in Common
When an owner dies, a properly signed and recorded deed directs
and channels the person’s property interest to its next owner, typically according
to the following rules.
Which is best? Conveying your home to your child or children
now? Or letting them inherit it after you pass on? Conveying real estate during
your lifetime can cost more than letting it be inherited after death. Then
again, inheritances go through probate, which is time-consuming and subject to
challenges. Here are more details on the ways the options play out. Choose the
one that works best for you and your family.
Real estate can be a fantastic investment. It is often considered one of the most stable money moves that you can make if you are looking for a way to see real return on a business venture, sometimes with little personal involvement.
when you hold several properties, you need to take steps to protect that
investment. One of the ways that you should do that is by developing an estate
plan that works for your unique situation. It is not only a good idea for you
personally, but it will also be very helpful for your heirs.
Michigan Ladybird Deed
(Warranty Deed with Enhanced Life Estate and Power of Appointment)
When correctly executed and recorded, this deed provides the structure for a non-testamentary transfer of real property. Leaving the real property out of a will allows the transfer to occur without the need for probate.