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What should I do with my real estate after I die?

For most people, real estate is the most valuable asset they own. When you are creating your estate plan so you can pass your assets to the next generation, you will have to consider what to do with your real estate. Keep it in the family? Sell it? There are several things to consider, all of which have important implications for the future.

The three most important issues

Before you finalize any legal documents pertaining to death and your real properties, you should carefully consider the following three issues:

  1. Family and finances

When considering what to do with your real estate, the two most important factors are easily your family and your finances. You want to make a decision in your loved ones’ best interests that is also financially feasible and, if possible, profitable.

  1. Keep, or sell?

Purchasing a home is a point of pride for many Americans. Keeping a beloved house or plot of land in the family has sentimental value in addition to providing a place to live or a potential source of income. However, do not let emotion cloud the financial reality that selling the property may be more valuable for your beneficiaries.

  1. The method of transfer

If you decide to keep the property in the family, you will need to plan the method of passing it to your inheritors. Some options include:

  • Joint tenancy
  • A deed of distribution
  • Tenets in common
  • Putting it in the will
  • A living trust

Each of these options has its upsides and downsides. You will want to discuss which decision is best for you based on the property in question.

Careful planning is the key

Death and real estate have at least three things in common: They are complicated, intimidating and no one wants to think about their details. By making a plan today about what may happen to your real estate holdings tomorrow, you can put your family in a much better position for security. Whatever you do, it should involve properly prepared legal documents that a South Carolina court will uphold.