Real Estate Deeds: A Strategic Approach
For many people, real estate is among their most significant assets. Addressing property rights is an important part of estate planning. Property rights may also come up in trust administration and, on occasion, probate proceedings.
At DeMent & Marquardt, PLC, our attorneys handle aspects of real estate transactions as they related to estate planning and estate and trust administration.
Different Ways Of Titling Property
Many people aren’t aware that there are multiple ways to title property. Each comes with its own set of rights and legal implications. Strategically titling property is an important component of many estate plans, as it can serve as a powerful tool for transferring property outside of probate as well as planning for Medicaid.
- Joint tenancy: Perhaps the most common type of joint title, this provides “survivorship rights” – that is, automatic transfer of ownership to the surviving owner after the other’s death.
- Tenants in common: This type gives each owner a fractional share in the property. It doesn’t have survivorship rights like joint tenancies.
- Life estate: This type of joint title gives the primary property holder – called the “life tenant” – the right to live on the property until their death, when it transfers to the beneficiary. The life tenant’s rights are restricted with regard to what they can do with the property.
- Enhanced life estate: Also called a “Lady Bird deed” in Michigan, this type of title gives the life tenant more rights over the property during their lifetime than a traditional life estate. It also gives them the ability to name a beneficiary to whom the title will transfer after their death.
- Quit claim deed: This type of deed transfers title without transferring the Grantor’s warranty that they received when purchasing or receiving the property.
Our attorneys can advise you on which types of deeds may be appropriate for your situation, and they can effectuate the steps necessary to transfer titles when needed as well.