Al Domanskis and Ted Harrington recently participated in an estate planning workshop held by the Latin United Community Housing Association (LUCHA), walking participants through Powers of Attorney for Property and Healthcare and drafting wills and beneficiary deeds, also known as “transfer-on-death” deeds. These deeds can be a simple and useful way to transfer real property after you pass away.
Probate is the process by which a decedent’s will is “proved” to be an accurate representation of the decedent’s wishes after their death. This process is often time consuming and expensive and must be handled in a special division in the circuit courts of Illinois. However, there are several common ways to avoid probate. The first is by placing your assets, including any real estate you own, in a living trust. However, this option can also be expensive as it is recommended you consult an attorney to ensure it is established correctly.
The second way to avoid probate is by using a small-estate affidavit. This allows decedents to effectuate the wishes in their wills, without going through probate, but only if their estate is valued at less than $100,000. This will often transfer bank accounts and any other personal items a decedent owned.
The third way to avoid probate is with a transfer-on-death deed. Real property is often the most expensive asset an individual will own. As such, it is important that it is distributed in the manner intended by the decedent. Real property may not be passed through a small-estate affidavit, and instead, a transfer-on-death deed can be executed. This deed will list a beneficiary and be recorded with the county in which the property is located. The deed will not go into effect until the grantor dies, at which point a death certificate will be filed with the county, finalizing the property transfer.
If you would like to learn more about estate planning, the experienced attorneys at Boodell and Domanskis, LLC will be able to assist you.