Protecting your loved ones after your death requires planning and decision making while you are alive. It’s important to discuss your wishes with an estate planning attorney to make sure that your decisions are legally enforceable. If you want to pass your family home or vacation property to your children for future generations to enjoy, it’s essential that you meet with an experienced estate planning attorney to determine the best way to pass your real estate to your heirs.
1. A Joint Tenancy or Tenancy in Common
Illinois’ Joint Tenancy with Right of Survivorship means that two people – typically a husband and wife – co-own the property in equal shares. When one person dies, the other co-owner automatically becomes the owner of the property, even if there is no will. This is called right of survivorship.
Tenancy in common means that two or more people co-own a property. Tenants in common do not have rights of survivorship, all of the deceased’s assets go to the estate. The co-owner will not inherit their share of the property unless it is left to them in a will.
2. Transfer on Death Deed
If you own real estate, a transfer on death deed (TOD) is an easy way for you to pass your property, such as your home, to your beneficiaries when you die without going through probate. The beneficiary has no right to your property while you’re alive and, if you own real estate jointly, the transfer on death deed does not apply until all the owners have died. While the owner is alive, the owner retains the right to sell the real estate or make changes to the TOD.
Real estate can be passed on to your heirs by a revocable or irrevocable living trust, which can transfer your assets while you’re living, or a testamentary trust, where the assets are transferred after your death. Trusts keep your assets out of probate and preserve them for your heirs.
An estates and trusts attorney can explain the different ways to pass your real estate to your heirs and help you to determine which one may be favorable.
Estate planning is protecting your assets for future generations. Contact the Estate & Probate Legal Group in Lombard Illinois today at 1-630-800-0112.