Real estate professionals gave advice in a Florida news column related to keeping a house within a family after an elderly family member has died. 

Family wonders how they should transfer a house from an elderly relative

The reader asked the advice column if they could simply add family member’s names to the deed to ensure that one of these people would keep the property in the event that a relative dies. 

The first piece of advice from the property experts who answered was to plan early and make sure it is done with the help of a professional. Botched paperwork can actually make the situation worse than doing nothing at all, so it is important to only make these changes with an attorney or other qualified individual. Trying to save costs on cheap services can also become a disaster if someone makes a mistake or files incorrect documents. 

The best option is to start creating a formal estate plan based on the size and needs of your family. There is no single right answer regarding the best way to transfer property, because there are a few ways it can be done through a will or other legally binding documents. Adding someone to a title or deed is actually not a good idea for property transfers due to taxation issues or the possibility of creditors making a claim to the property. Another common technique where an extra copy of the deed is signed and kept in advance by a family member to avoid probate court is also a bad idea. This is because it is easy for almost anyone to forge a deed in this manner, and courts will rarely uphold them. 

The column concluded by saying that it is always best to sit down with a professional and discuss your specific situation. This is the best way to safeguard against any problems and ensure that any legally binding documents made will actually carry out the family’s intent.

The benefits of estate planning

As this advice column shows, something as simple as transferring a piece of property after death can become complex depending on a large number of variables within each family. Trying to figure all of this out on your own can sometimes have serious consequences at a later time, even if it saves some money in the short term. Attorneys who focus on this area of property law can plan for all kinds of contingencies. 

Speak with a Florida estate planning attorney

There are licensed legal professionals who can provide a complete plan for transferring your property to family members or other entities. To learn more, contact:

The Estate, Trust, and Elder Law Firm

850 NW Federal Highway, #1004, Stuart, FL 34994


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