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Community Property Versus Title In Joint Tenancy

Ask the Real Estate Lawyer: Real Estate Law Q&A

REM # LAW 727

By Ilyce R. Glink and Samuel J. Tamkin

Summary: A ThinkGlink reader has inherited her father's property and would like to make sure the property is passed down to her son. Ilyce and Sam suggest a living trust that would transfer title to the child upon her death

Q: I am the successor trustee on my father’s property. He recently passed away. I am a married woman and have a 12-year old son from a previous marriage.
(article continues below useful links)

From my understanding, holding title with my husband as community property versus holding title in joint tenancy may be the best choice so I can leave the house to my son someday. Am I on the right track?

A: Our condolences on the recent loss of your father.

If your goal is to leave your father’s property to your son without your current husband having a claim to the home, you’ll need to sit down with an estate planning attorney.

He or she may recommend that you place your father’s property in a living trust that would transfer title to your child upon your death. You would select a trustee to administer the trust after your death, but the beneficiary/owner of the property would be your son.

If your current husband is on the title to your father’s property, he will still be a part owner of the home when you die. If he isn’t on the title to the property and you die without a will, he will inherit a part of the home. Finally, if you do have a will, he could contest the will.

The estate planning attorney can help you explore your options and plan for the future.

Samuel J. Tamkin is a Chicago-based real estate attorney. Ilyce R. Glink’s latest book is 50 Simple Steps You Can Take To Sell Your Home Faster and For More Money In Any Market. If you have questions for them, write: Real Estate Matters Syndicate, PO Box 366, Glencoe, IL 60022 or contact them through Ilyce’s website




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