Articles Posted in Real Property

2.6.20Property deeds are used to convey real property from a grantor (seller) to a grantee (buyer). For a deed to be legally operative, it must include the identification of the grantor and grantee, and the adequate description of the property.

Property deeds can be classified into several categories. Investopedia’s recent article entitled “Understanding Property Deeds” explains that a property deed is a written and signed legal instrument that is used to transfer ownership of real property from the then-owner (the grantor) to the new owner (the grantee).

Every state has its own requirements, but most deeds are required to have some essential elements to be legally valid:

12.6.19There are different types of property. What we informally call real estate, is known in the law as “real property.” That includes any property that is made of land and any structure that sits on it. That also can include assets that appear on that piece of land, like crops, water, livestock or other natural resources.

The ownership of real estate takes several different forms, and each has different requirements for transferring ownership, obtaining financing, paying taxes and collateralization. How the property is owned is based on its title, which is used to convey ownership.

Investopedia’s recent article, “5 Common Methods of Holding Real Property Title,” explains that each title method has its pros and cons, depending on a person's specific situation and how they want ownership to pass after death, divorce, or sale. The most common of these methods of title holding are joint tenancy, tenancy in common, tenants by entirety, sole ownership and community property.

5.15.19How home ownership is titled, or how it is described on the title to the house, can have far reaching implications that may not come into play for decades.

Deciding how the owners of a home will hold title to it, is a much bigger decision than most people think, says The Washington Post in a recent article, “What you need to know about holding title to a home with a loved one.” Before you sit down at the closing table to finalize the purchase of a home, or if the house is being re-titled to align with an estate plan, it’s important to understand the different ways that a home can be owned with another person.

There are three primary ways to title property between spouses. Joint tenancy is the least common and typically must include the language “with right of survivorship and not as tenants in common.” Spouses typically acquire title as “tenants by the entireties,” which only applies to spouses in a limited number of states.

8.15.18When the family vacation home is passed from one generation to the next, there are certain tax issues to be aware of, particularly the step-up in basis.  However, there may also be state taxes.

The first part of understanding the tax responsibility when you plan on giving it to your family vacation home to adult children who live out of state, is to understand the definition of “basis” and “step-up in basis.” These terms refer to income taxes and are used to determine any gains or losses on the sale of the property.

When you die, property that you own or control is valued as of the date of death. The children who inherit the property take it with that value as their basis. The first thing is to determine the parent’s basis in the property.  You should then look at how the basis of inherited property is handled. Generally, the basis of property inherited from a decedent is one of the following:

MP900442417What follows are issues to consider, and, in those rare cases where a transfer can make sense, how to do it the right way.

Are you thinking about handing over the family home to your loved ones early? Proceed with caution. Although the hand-off can be a blessing to some, there are consequences you should consider before passing on the house keys.

This challenge was the subject of recent article in The Wall Street Journal titled the “Dangers of Giving Your Home to Your Children.

Sold signPerhaps the more important detail of this story is that the home was sold in an estate sale by heirs who appear to have let the property go for considerably less than market value.

Inherited property brings with it certain important responsibilities, and that goes double and triple for executors or trustees. The gifted property can be an immense gift and boon to your future. Even if it’s not going to be a home to live in and is just an asset to sell, what a windfall it can be!

There are all sorts of liabilities, insurances, and special transactions that might become important when a piece of real property is at stake. However, foremost at issue for heirs is selling it at the right value. Indeed, responsibility for understanding the real estate market or knowing whom to trust when selling real estate is something an heir takes on.

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