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Wills & Probate: Facts about Ownership of Property

Mon, Sep 18, 2017 at 8:58AM

Wills & Probate: Facts about Ownership of Property

Some myths persist in regard to wills, probate and property ownership. Therefore, probate lawyers want you to know the following are TRUE STATEMENTS:


  1. Probate is not a dirty word. It is the court-monitored administration of an estate.


  1. Whether or not one has a will does not affect whether probate will be required.


  1. Property passing according to a will requires probate.


  1. Property passing to heirs at law where decedent did not have a will and did not name beneficiaries on assets requires probate.


  1. If a person dies with a will, but with ALL assets going directly to recipients, via joint tenancy or payable on death designations, probate will not be required.


  1. The amount of money a person leaves has nothing to do with whether probate will be required. If one leaves any asset that is solely owned and does not have a beneficiary designation, probate will be required to transfer the asset.


  1. What a will says is irrelevant as to assets that pass directly to recipients.


  1. Adding joint tenants to assets may create unwanted problems because the added name is an owner of the asset.


  1. Assets held in a revocable trust still belong to the person who owned the assets. They have not been transferred.
  2. For Medicaid purposes, assets held in a joint account are still owned 100% by the person who owned the assets before other names were added.


  1. If a person adds a name to assets, and the added person is sued or divorced, the assets may be jeopardized.


  1. When a person’s name is added to real estate, stocks or mutual funds, a gift has been made, and when the original owner dies, the recipient will have the original owner’s tax basis in the property instead of the date of death stepped-up value.


  1. If a person applies for Medicaid within five years after adding a name to the title of a home, the person may be ineligible for Medicaid.


We hope this list helped, and if you ever need more legal assistance, please don’t hesitate to visit the Pyle & Dellinger blog.

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