If you want to create a sound estate plan, having a basic understanding of wills & probates will benefit both you and your loved ones who stand to inherit your property. Here’s what you should know when transferring ownership of a property to family members after you pass away.
What Is Sole Ownership?
Sole ownership means the property is in the name of the deceased person and only them. An example would be real estate in “fee simple absolute” that is titled in only one person’s name. Any remainder of the property will not be transferred to other people upon their death. Because of wills & probate laws, a property that falls under this ownership will most likely go through probate before it can be inherited. Whoever stands to inherit the property is named in the will. If there is no will, the state will determine who inherits.
How is Joint Ownership Different?
Joint ownership is another way a property can be titled. However, unlike sole ownership, the deceased is not the only owner. In this case, the property will automatically pass to the surviving co-owner, or who is said to be the joint tenant. Under wills & probate laws, properties held jointly do not need to go through probate. The surviving owner only needs the relevant paperwork. Thus, transferring real estate this way—also called “right of survivorship”—is much simpler.
In Iowa, jointly-held properties pass outside of a trust or will. For instance, a parent’s will says that everything will be equally distributed between two children. However, only one of them owns a joint account with that parent. That child will inherit the bank account, and there’s no legal obligation to share it with the other sibling regardless of what was stated in the will.
The dedicated attorneys at Cronin Skilton & Skilton in Charles City and Nashua, IA, are experts at handling wills & probate cases. Their skills also extend to personal injury law, wrongful death, civil litigation, and tax and bankruptcy law. They’ll be there for you whether you need legal advice or legal representation. Call them today at (641) 435-2462 to speak to an attorney in Nashua, or (641) 228-3318 call their Charles City law firm. You may also visit their website to find out more about their services.