The answer is YES!!!
If someone passes away without taking any steps to ensure their property passes to their loved ones outside of court, their property will need to be probated. This means that someone has to open a court case and ask a judge to distribute the property (or sell it in the estate).
Probate can significantly affect real estate in several ways:
- Delay in Transfer of Ownership: Probate is the legal process through which a deceased person’s assets, including real estate, are distributed to heirs or beneficiaries. This process can be time-consuming and may delay the transfer of ownership to the intended recipients. Usual cases last about 12 months and in the event there is litigation, it can last a lot longer than that.
- Costly Legal Fees: Probate often involves legal fees, court costs, and administrative expenses, which can reduce the value of the estate, including real estate. As probate attorneys, we appreciate your business. But as moms, daughters, spouses, and human beings, we much rather you plan ahead and make sure your loved ones don’t have to incur this financial burden.
- Public Record: Probate proceedings are a matter of public record, which means that information about the real estate and its ownership becomes accessible to the public, potentially impacting privacy. There are planning tools which help you keep these matters private.
- Potential Sale of Real Estate: In some cases, the court may order the sale of real estate to pay off debts or distribute assets among heirs. This can result in the loss of the property to the original family.
- Title Issues: Real estate held solely by the deceased (or together with the deceased without any valid survivorship language) may encounter title issues during probate, making it challenging (and costly) to sell or transfer the property until these issues are resolved.
- Potential for Disputes: Probate can lead to disputes among heirs or beneficiaries, which may further complicate the process of distributing real estate assets. The more disputes, the more time it consumes, the more fees accrue, and sometimes, the property can depreciate in value during the pendency of the proceedings.
To mitigate these issues, individuals often use estate planning tools such as wills, trusts, and joint ownership arrangements to avoid or streamline the probate process for their real estate holdings. Consulting with an estate planning attorney that has experience with real estate (like us) can help individuals make informed decisions about how to manage their real estate assets in the event of their passing.
Just reach out for more info! (305) 477-1111; firstname.lastname@example.org