What should I know about including real estate in my estate plan?

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What Should I Know About Including Real Estate In My Estate Plan

For many people in New Jersey, the largest and most valuable asset they own is real estate. When you create an estate plan, you probably take create care to ensure your real estate is covered. However, there are many details about including real estate in your estate plan that you should be aware of so that you can avoid mistakes or issues.

Fox News explains that state laws will often handle the passing of ownership of real estate. For example, if you are married, your wife or husband becomes the automatic owner with no need for probate or anything else to clarify this because it is the law. However, if you have other plans for your property or you have special wishes, then you really need to include the property in your estate plan and clearly outline what you want done with it.

If you own part of a property, for example, if you share a property with someone else and have no survivorship rights under the law, then you have to include that real estate in your estate plan. Otherwise, it will go to probate, which can be a long and expensive process.

You also need to plan for what happens if you and your spouse die at the same time. There is no survivorship to automatically transfer the property at that point, so it is essential to outline in your estate plan what you want to happen in this situation.

Essentially, you really have to plan for everything. Otherwise, your property gets held up in probate and it could be a long time until your heirs get their hands on it. In the meantime, this could cause issues with your mortgage and with taxes, which you want to avoid. This information is for education and is not legal advice.


Michael Ritigstein is a Founding Partner of the firm concentrating his efforts in supporting the firm's litigation, corporate and estate matters. Mr. Ritigstein graduated from the University of Delaware in 1996 and Seton Hall University School of Law in 2000. In 2007 he received a Masters of Law in Taxation with a concentration in Estate Planning, from Temple University's Beasley School of Law.

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