Methods of Owning Property

Property can be owned in many different ways. Ownership helps determine how property is transferred to beneficiaries, and whether it is probate or non-probate estate. Examples of probate property that may transfer to beneficiaries through a will or probate include:

Individually Owned Property

•   These are assets owned in the name of a single owner with no automatic transfer arrangements, such as the house or land you own individually.

Tenancy in Common Co-Ownership

•   These assets ar e owned as tenants-in-common with another person, such as the property and land you own together with your sibling, friend or life partner.

There are several types of non-pr obate property:

Right of Survivorship Property

•   These ar e assets owned with another wher e the surviving joint tenant automatically takes full ownership without going through probate.

Contractual Property

Many types of property pass from one owner to another by virtue of contractual provisions:

•   Life Insurance: A life insurance policy beneficiary receives the policy proceeds at death.

•   Retirement Account with Designated Beneficiary: The beneficiary named in an IRA gets the property at the death of the owner by virtue of the beneficiary designation.

•   Government: Dictates how and when some property is transferred, such as qualified retirement plans, which must pay benefits to a surviving spouse.

Revocable Trusts

•   Revocable trusts ar e the final way that pr operty can pass fr om one individual to another without going thr ough probate. This is why revocable trusts are used as a preferred means of transferring property.

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