Under Illinois law, there are different forms of title to property. How your real property or personal property is titled can have a bearing in probate matters or divorce, including adverse and unintended outcomes.
The estate planning attorneys of Jill M. Metz & Associates can make sure that your assets are properly titled or help you retitle assets in a form that protects you, your partner or spouse, and your heirs. We counsel people from all walks of life, including high net worth clients with complex holdings. In particular, we serve clients in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community who must take extra precautions to protect their inheritance rights because their marriage or civil union may not be universally recognized by other jurisdictions.
Property Titles Attorneys In Chicago Helping Clients Choose The Right Form Of Title For Real Estate And Personal Property
Real property such as a house, timeshare, lake cabin or rental property can be owned in three ways:
- Tenants by entirety — This is available only to couples who are married or in a civil union.
- Joint tenants — Two or more parties can declare joint ownership on the property deed.
- Tenants in common — This is the default form of title if neither of the above is declared.
With tenancy by the entirety or joint tenancy, real property automatically passes upon the death of one co-owner to the other party or parties on the deed.
However, real property or real estate owned as tenants in common reverts to the estate of the deceased individual and must go through probate. The property could be tied up for months or years, preventing heirs from taking possession or selling their interest. A couple who did not designate title as joint tenants or tenants by the entirety often ends up with the surviving partner having to move out of the residence and sell the property.
The bonus of tenancy by the entirety is that one's residence is protected from the married or civil union spouse's creditors during one's lifetime. In other words, creditors may have a claim against your spouse's interest in the property, but they cannot file foreclosures or liens because you would be unfairly deprived of your interest.
Personal property is a broad category that includes property with or without a title, and is inclusive of your vehicles, your bank and investment accounts, and any other property that could have a title placed on it. This type of property may be owned (a) jointly or (b) individually with a beneficiary designated. There are different reasons for each of these options, based upon the bigger picture of your estate.
Is Your Property Titled In A Way That Protects You?
Our experienced lawyers have your best interests at heart and can help you look at your real estate and personal possessions in a strategic light. To discuss title to property in the context of estate planning, call the law office of Jill M. Metz & Associates in Chicago at 773-878-4480 or contact us by email.
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