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3 ways to transfer real property in an estate plan

On Behalf of | Apr 30, 2023 | Estate Planning |

The estate planning process in Washington State may involve the creation of numerous different documents or simply someone working with a lawyer to put together a will.

In many Washington families, the most valuable asset that someone will need to address is their primary residence. The real property where someone lives may represent hundreds of thousands of dollars in equity and could, therefore, be the most valuable property that they hope to pass to their loved ones when they die. These are the primary ways that people arrange for the transfer of real property in their Washington estate plans.

1. They include the house in their will

A last will and testament is a document outlining someone’s preferences regarding the distribution of their property when they die. It will allow someone to name a specific beneficiary to receive their home or possibly multiple beneficiaries to share ownership. People can also leave instructions for the sale of their homes so that loved ones can split the proceeds.

2. They execute a new deed

Sometimes, people remarry later in life and believe their spouse will live longer than them or they have one of their adult children move into their home to serve as a caregiver. These adults may want the ownership interest for the home to pass to the people living with them later in life. Those who record a deed establishing title as joint tenants with rights of survivorship can allow their interest in the property to pass automatically to the person living with them without the house passing through probate court.

3. They hold the property in a trust

Real estate is one of the assets that people frequently use to fund trusts. Moving a home into a trust can protect it from collection activity as someone ages and can also reduce the total value of someone’s estate to minimize their estate tax risks. Trusts can be useful for those who want to allow a spouse or child with special needs to live in a property without giving them control over it as well.

Someone’s relationships, financial circumstances and legacy wishes can influence the best solution for their real property in their estate plan. Seeking legal guidance to better evaluate each option for someone’s most valuable resources can help them to create the most useful estate plan possible.