For most homeowners in Oklahoma, their house is the most valuable thing they own. Others own multiple pieces of real estate, such as rental properties, vacation homes and farmland. Owning property can give families stability, a potential income source, and a place to raise children.
Because real estate is so valuable, it is often one of the most important concerns in estate planning and administration. People want to know what will happen to their homes and other property after they pass away. Will the executor and heirs have to go through the time and expense of probating the real estate?
Choosing the right ownership model
Whether or not a piece of real estate goes through probate depends on the form of ownership the deceased had it in. It is common for couples to own the house in joint tenancy with right of survivorship. This means that when one spouse or partner dies, their ownership interest in the property goes to the surviving spouse or partner. The property bypasses the probate court.
Another option is to put real estate into a trust. Ownership of the property then passes to the trust, where the trustee administers it for the eventual benefit of the beneficiaries. Meanwhile, you can continue to live in your home. Assets placed in trusts do not pass through the probate process, which is one of the biggest benefits of having a trust. However, a trust is not appropriate in all cases.
Smart planning leads to positive results
With careful planning, landowners can minimize the impact that probate has on their estate after they are gone. Therefore, their families can inherit sooner with fewer fees deducted. An estate planning attorney can explain this in greater detail.