What Happens When Wills and Deeds Conflict?

Image of paper legal documents for the last will and testament. Captioned: What Happens When Wills and Deeds Conflict?

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.

Continue reading “What Happens When Wills and Deeds Conflict?”

Owning Property in Unequal Shares, as Tenants in Common

Image of two people sitting at a table outside discussing being tenants in common owners of real estate.

A tenancy in common is a popular way for co-owners to take title to a home. This way of vesting offers an alternative to joint tenancy, in which a home is co-owned, but the owners split their interest evenly. Here, we talk about what a tenancy in common is, and why its allowance for co-owning in unequal shares can be a benefit.

Continue reading “Owning Property in Unequal Shares, as Tenants in Common”

How’s Your Property Vested? It Matters as Much as Your Will or Trust

Image of an ink pen on a legal document. Captioned: How's Your Property Vested? It Matters as Much as Your Will or Trust.

In estate planning, wills and trusts aren’t everything.

Homeowners who want to be sure the home passes to the desired beneficiary must be sure the property is correctly vested.

Consider a common example. If you co-own property with a right of survivorship, your interest cannot be willed to any other party. The person who survives automatically acquires rights in your interest.

Here, we review this and other consequences of the vesting of real estate.   

Continue reading “How’s Your Property Vested? It Matters as Much as Your Will or Trust”

Types of Vesting Related to Real Estate Ownership

Title vesting is the way an owner (or owners) of property takes title to their real estate. The way that title is held will affect what the owner (or owners) can do with the property during his or her lifetime, and will also determine whether or not the property has to go through probate proceedings upon the owner’s death.

When a deed is written for real property, the ownership is described using the owner’s name and a descriptive phrase for the legal relationship between multiple owners or married people. Vesting decisions will vary from state to state.

Continue reading “Types of Vesting Related to Real Estate Ownership”