Details Matter in Real Estate Ownership

Details Matter in Real Estate Ownership

Every person who owns a residence or other real property must be aware of the form of ownership.  Recently, I told a client that she could purchase her mother’s residence as part of planning for Mom’s nursing home care.  However, when the client presented the deed to the property, I discovered a major problem.  The problem results from a failure of the client’s parents to tend to the details of ownership.
The property had been deeded to the client’s father and mother “as Husband and Wife.”  The father had died some years earlier.  If the deed had stated that the property was conveyed to the couple “as joint tenants with rights of survivorship,” the property would be owned outright by Mom as the surviving co-owner after Dad’s death.  However, without the “joint tenants with rights of survivorship” wording in the deed to Mom and Dad, Mom only owns her one-half share, and Dad’s one-half share must pass to his heirs through probate of his will or estate.
Dad had two children from a prior marriage, giving him three surviving children.  He died without a will, so his one-half interest in the property will pass according to Mississippi’s inheritance law – to his surviving spouse and children in equal shares.  The result: Mom now owns five-eighths (5/8) of the property and each surviving child owns one-eighth (1/8).  If all children do not agree on what to do with the property, who should purchase it, and for what price, the residence cannot be sold.
The conveyance and titling of real property is not a DIY project, since there are many family dynamics, tax ramifications and legal requirements to consider.  In order to make sure your deeds and ownership of property are just like you want them, call us to review those matters with you.  You can then rest easy knowing that, instead of roadblocks ahead, you and your loved ones with have smooth roads toward your goals.