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Transferring a property after death: Transfer deeds

| Oct 12, 2020 | Real Estate Transactions |

If someone you love has passed away and willed you their home, then it may be necessary to change the home’s title. This usually happens in one of three ways. The first is by having the successor trustee prepare, record and submit the transfer deed.

The second way is to shift the property into the other party’s name through co-ownership. In that case, someone with survivorship rights will need to prepare and record a new transfer deed.

The third way is to place the property into probate. Once it goes through probate, the state laws will determine how the deed needs to be changed.

This can be a lot to take in for someone who is still trying to cope with a loved one’s death. That’s why it can be a good idea to work with an attorney as soon as you know that you’re going to be receiving property as an inheritance or through survivorship.

What happens if the property was in a trust at the time of the decedent’s death?

If the property was in a trust, then an affidavit, “death of trustee” form will need to be filled out. Your attorney will help prepare and later record the trust transfer grant deed. This will take the title out of decedent’s name and place it into the name of the heirs or beneficiaries.

What happens when there is no will or trust in place?

This becomes more complicated when no trust is used, because probate may be the only solution. The probate court will determine whom the property should be distributed to based on state law. Then, the state laws will also dictate how that title will be transferred into the new owner’s name.

Probate takes much longer than other processes, so if you believe that you need to go through probate to seek out the property and to have it transferred into your name, that’s something to bring up to your attorney as soon as you can. Starting early may help you take time off the probate process and help resolve the title issues sooner.

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