If you have read our blog for a while, you probably know that estate planning is largely focused on transferring your property after you die. While there are many aspects to estate planning that don’t affect your property after you die, much of the time you spend developing a plan will center on these kinds of transfers. Today, we thought we would take a look at the four basic kinds of ways that your property will transfer to others after you die.
Property Transfers After You Die. Joint Owner With the Right of Survivorship Transfers
Property owned by joint owners with the right of survivorship will automatically transfer full ownership to a surviving owner once the other joint owner dies. For example, let’s say that you and your husband own your home as joint owners with the right of survivorship. Should your husband die, you will automatically become the sole owner of your home. You won’t need to go to court to do this, nor will you need to create any other tools that protect your property interests in the home.
Property Transfers After You Die. Transfer-on-Death Asset Transfers
Other assets, though not owned as joint assets with the right of survivorship, will also automatically transfer to new owners upon the original owner’s death. These types of assets are known as transfer on death assets. With the transfer on death asset, the owner gets to name a beneficiary who will automatically become the new owner upon the owner’s death. For example, many bank accounts, investment accounts, and other financial accounts allow owners to name a transfer on death beneficiary. Once the owner dies, the chosen beneficiary will inherit that asset.
Property Transfers After You Die. Testate or Intestate Transfers
If you create a last will and testament you can choose who you want to inherit your property after you die. As long as the will complies with any relevant Florida laws, a court will accept your wishes and see that your property is transferred accordingly.
On the other hand, if you do not create a last will and testament, or create one incorrectly, the pre-existing laws of intestate succession will determine who your legal heirs are.
Property Transfers After You Die. Living Trust Transfers
A key alternative to wills is the revocable living trust. With a living trust you can also make inheritance choices, but do so outside the probate process. When you transfer property into a living trust, the trust will distribute that property after you die in accordance with the terms you have chosen. Trusts are not subject to probate court approval, and such transfers will happen outside the eyes of any probate court.