When a person dies leaving behind real property, sometimes there will be work to do to make sure the property is properly titled or transferred. Depending on how the property was held, this might be a relatively simple task, or it might be much more involved. Here are some common situations and a general review of what is involved in dealing with real estate under those circumstances.
Property held in name of deceased alone
If someone dies and their real property was not held in a trust, the solution will depend on the value of the property. If the property is valued at $150,000 or less, there are simplified probate procedures you can use to have the property transferred or titled correctly.
If the property is valued at over $150,000, you may have to file a Petition for Probate. Probate is a long, tedious process where the court will oversee the wrapping up of the decedent's estate.
Property held in trust
If the property was held in a trust at the time of death, the successor trustee can execute an Affidavit of Death of Trustee in front of a notary and have it recorded with a copy of the death certificate. Then the trustee will be able to transfer the property to the beneficiary named in the trust document.
Property held in joint tenancy
Joint tenancy has the advantage of the “right of survivorship,” whereby the surviving joint tenant automatically succeeds to the deceased joint tenant's share. Similar to property held in a trust, you can have a notarized Affidavit of Death of Joint Tenant recorded with a copy of the death certificate, allowing the surviving joint tenant to take title to the property without going to court.
Property held as community property
If the property was held by spouses as community property, an Affidavit of Surviving Spouse Succeeding to Title to Community Property may be recorded, allowing the surviving spouse to take title.
If a real estate owner dies, it is best to deal with title issues right away, so as to avoid a title dispute in the future. Obviously, it is best if the property was held in a trust. But even if it was not, there are other ways to clear up title.
Helix Law Firm can help with property transfers
If you need to transfer property after the death of an owner, we can help. We can research the property's title and determine the best way to make the transfer. Then we can execute all necessary documents to complete the transfer so that you don't have to worry.
If you're interested in learning more about how Helix can help, please call us at (619) 567-4447 to schedule a free consultation.