ARTICLE: Inheritance Planning: How to Pass Real Estate

Inheritance Planning: How to Pass Real Estate

One of the biggest assets most people have is their home. As such, when people choose to engage in estate planning, one of their main concerns is what is the best way to pass on real estate. There are multiple ways to pass real estate to heirs in New York, and which one is most suitable depends on the property owner’s unique circumstances. If you have questions about how to pass real estate to your loved ones, it is smart to meet with a knowledgeable Corning estate planning lawyer.

Passing Real Estate Via a Will

One of the most common ways to pass real estate to loved ones is a will. Under New York law, a will has to be in writing and signed by the testator and two witnesses to be valid. It is important to note that even if a person executes a will stating that their real property should go to a specific beneficiary, it does not mean that the beneficiary will automatically inherit the property upon the person’s death. Instead, the estate must go through probate, and the probate process can be lengthy and expensive. Beneficiaries will also be responsible for any mortgages or other debts arising out of the property. Additionally, only certain property can be passed through a will. For example, if the testator jointly owns real property with another individual, they may not be able
to pass along their interest, depending on the nature of the title to the property.

Passing Real Estate Through a Living Trust

Living trusts are another common way to pass real estate. Broadly speaking, a grantor creates a trust and then names beneficiaries who will benefit from the trust. The grantor must also designate a party to act as the trustee. The trustee manages any trust assets in accordance with the grantor’s wishes. Many grantors simply name themselves as trustees; in such instances, it is important that they name successor trustees as well to ensure their wishes are carried out after their passing. After the trust is created, the grantor funds the trust by placing property in it. Such property can include real estate. One of the primary benefits of a living trust is that the grantor can retain the right to use and control the property during their lifetime, but then the title to the property will
immediately transfer to their designated beneficiaries upon their death. This allows the beneficiaries to avoid the probate process and any fees associated with it and receive the property much quicker. Any debts associated with the property must be paid as well.

Confer with a Seasoned Corning Estate Planning Attorney About Your Options

People who own real estate should assess their options for passing along their property after their death and engage in any planning necessary to ensure that their wishes are carried out. If you are interested in learning more about how you can pass along property to your loved ones, call us today to schedule a meeting at 607-962-6162 or complete this intake form and we’ll be in touch.

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We at Roth Elder Law, PLLC, believe in providing services in a way that clients can easily understand and meaningfully participate in designing and maintaining their estate plan for their loved ones, as well as be assured that their plan will be administered according to their wishes.