Real Estate Property Division
Nashville Real Estate Property Division Attorneys
Real Property Transfer Assistance in Nashville
When someone passes away, their assets will eventually be distributed to beneficiaries and heirs. Asset distribution may be straightforward or complex, depending on the circumstances. If there is a valid will, the deceased person’s executor will follow the document’s instructions after going through the court-supervised probate process. Assets contained in trusts are exempt from probate and can be transferred to beneficiaries at any time (in accordance with trust instructions).
Real property, or real estate, operates differently than other types of assets, however. Beneficiaries and heirs will need to take specific steps to facilitate smooth transfers of real estate after a loved one passes away. Problems may also arise when a property is left to multiple beneficiaries who disagree on how to handle the asset.
At Lackey McDonald, PLLC, we understand how to strategically approach estate planning, including how to navigate and overcome complications. Our Nashville real estate property division lawyers have many decades of collective experience and can assist you with transfers and re-titling. We can also help you proactively simplify real estate transfers by incorporating tailored mechanisms into your estate plan. These tools can help you reduce the impact of capital gains taxes if your loved ones plan to sell inherited properties. Finally, our team is prepared to assist with partition actions in situations where one or more cotenants are looking to sell or divide an inherited property.
If you have questions about transferring or re-titling real property, contact us online or call (615) 392-4916 to schedule a free initial consultation. Flexible payment options and same-day appointments are available.
Joint Ownership & Rights of Survivorship
Unfortunately, Tennessee does not allow transfer-on-death deeds, a popular tool used to efficiently distribute real property in other states. Tennessee does recognize joint ownership arrangements. If you co-own a property with your spouse, adult child, or any other person, you can include a “right of survivorship.” This allows the property to automatically transfer to the co-owner when you pass away. This simple strategy can save a lot of headaches and dramatically simplify the transfer of real estate to your loved ones.
Community Property Trusts in Tennessee
Assets placed in living trusts are generally exempt from probate. This means any real estate held in a living trust can be transferred to chosen beneficiaries whenever the arrangement specifies. For example, you could place real estate in your living trust and order it to be transferred to your child upon your death.
Community property trusts are a type of living trust that seeks to minimize the burden of capital gains taxes on your beneficiaries. If you transfer real property to your spouse through a simple right of survivorship or probate, they will most likely be subject to full capital gains taxes if they sell the property shortly after. By keeping the real property in a community property trust, the transferred property’s value effectively resets to the current market value when it is transferred to your chosen beneficiary. This typically allows the new owner to entirely avoid the capital gains tax when they sell the inherited property.
Community property trusts are not necessarily right for everyone, especially if your loved ones do not intend to sell your property immediately after your death. Our Nashville real estate property division attorneys can determine whether this strategy makes sense and walk you through how this approach can help your loved ones save money.
If your loved one passed away without a will but had real property at the time of their death, that property automatically passes to the most immediate surviving heirs. To make the transfer official (and to re-title the deed), the heir must file an affidavit of heirship with the Register of Deeds. You do not generally need to complete any other steps or deal with probate.
Muniments of Title in Tennessee
Muniments of title can be a useful option for real estate transfers in a situation where a loved one passes away with a valid will but without any other significant assets. A muniment of title quickly arranges for the transfer of real property from the deceased to the beneficiary described in the will. This process skips probate. However, muniments of title cannot be used if the deceased also had a vehicle, a bank account, a retirement account, or any other valuable asset. (Personal property, like furniture and jewelry, is acceptable.) Ultimately, this caveat means muniments of title can only be used in rare scenarios.
Consider a situation where a man lives alone in a house on land he owns. He does not have a bank account, any insurance policies, or any vehicles. When he passes away, he leaves behind a will that orders his land to be given to his daughter. Because there is a valid will and the deceased man owns no other assets, the daughter can file a muniment of title and swiftly take control of the property.
Partition Actions in Tennessee
When someone leaves a piece of real property to multiple beneficiaries, they generally become “tenants in common,” meaning they have an equal interest in the property. This often occurs when a parent leaves real property to multiple children. You are not required to continue a joint tenancy arrangement and can file a partition action if you wish to divide or sell the property. If a fair division of the property is not practical, the court may permit a sale of the property. Proceeds will be evenly divided between the joint tenants unless there are extenuating circumstances that warrant an unequal distribution. We understand how to effectively approach partition actions and can help you take steps to divide inherited property you jointly own with another beneficiary.
It is in your best interest to implement a plan for how real property transfers will be handled. If you do not pursue any of the solutions described above, your real property will likely go through the probate process. If you have considerable debts, a Tennessee court may order the sale of your real property to cover the debts, depriving your beneficiaries of a crucial piece of their inheritance.
Our team at Lackey McDonald, PLLC can review your real estate holdings and recommend how best to protect them in your estate plan. Our Nashville real estate property division lawyers are prepared to tailor our approach to suit your needs and preferences. Your peace of mind is our highest priority, and we will take steps to ensure your real property is safe for generations to come.