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What Happens to My Real Estate If I Die Without a Will?

If you die owning real estate that is only in your name, it can cause many problems for your beneficiaries that can be avoided by proper planning. You can avoid these problems by contacting a wills and trusts attorney to help you plan for what you’d like to happen to your real estate in the future.

If you die without a Will, it is referred to as dying “intestate.” If you own a piece of property in your sole name and you die without leaving a Will, your property will pass through what is called “intestate succession” according to the laws of your state.  Suppose you have no surviving spouse and five (5) children when you die. Further assume that under the laws of your state, your real estate will pass to your children through intestate succession.  Your five (5) children will then all own your real estate together as a group.

As a general matter, a group of inherited owners will likely incur increased costs associated with inherited property. Additional costs are also incurred when property ownership is unclear. There will be extra expense involved when the property is sold and the entire sales process will take longer than usual. Each separate legal owner must be found and consulted with.  Then, each owner must agree to all parts of the sale process (i.e. negotiating the price, negotiating and completing repairs, and signing all required paperwork).  It can be very difficult getting a group of family members or individuals to all cooperate and agree during the course of a real estate transaction. Further complications arise when one of the inheriting owners is already deceased. In the event of a sale of the property by the group, additional work with the buyer’s title company such as filing probate documents and dealing with potential creditors of the deceased person may be required, and a title company may require proceeds to be escrowed for up to a year after the deceased person’s death.

All of these problems can easily be avoided with the help of an attorney. There are many affordable legal strategies that you can use to make things easier on your heirs. If you need help with a Will or with planning for the future, contact the wills and trusts attorney Memphis, TN relies on.

Thanks to our friends and contributors at Wiseman Bray PLLC who have significant experience in Wills and Probate and in helping clients plan for the future.

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For a free consultation, call the Law Offices of Joshua E. Stern at (847) 868-9584 or contact us.