Probate and Real Estate Titles

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Sometimes a couple buys a house together but does not marry. Lawyers and closing agents often title the property as tenants in common. This causes major problems if one partner passes and the other expects the property to transfer solely to them. When a property is titled as tenants in common, the decedent’s share goes to their heirs, not to their partner. When you purchase real estate, always check the deed to make sure that it is titled in the best way that benefits your relationship. While a couple who buys real estate together may not plan on separating, it does happen. However, if you feel that you would never separate because of certain circumstances, you might want to ensure that the property is titled as joint tenancy.

Probate and Real Estate Titles

If the property is titled as joint tenancy, the decedent’s share automatically goes to the other joint tenants listed on the deed. If it is titled as tenants in common, the decedent’s share goes to their heirs, not to their partner. However, you can avoid this by making sure the property is included in a will. The downside of this is that the will has to go through probate. Depending on the county the property is in and other problems that could arise with the estate, probate takes a minimum of six months to a year. It could take longer. Before you purchase property with someone you do not legally marry, make sure you have a conversation on the disposition of the property should one of you pass. Advise your attorney or closing agent to make sure the deed is titled in the manner you want.

Methods of Holding Property

You can hold property in several methods. One way is going to be better than the others, depending on your relationship and who you want to get the property postmortem. Joint Tenancy allows your share to pass to the others on the deed in the event of your death. You do not need to be married or even related to have a deed titled as joint tenancy. However, you cannot name someone else in your will to inherit the property. Additionally, creditors for one person may go after the other person on the deed – in effect, you become responsible for your partner’s debts.

With Tenancy in Common, you hold title to the property jointly, just as you do with joint tenancy. However, the other person’s creditors cannot go after you, and when one person dies, the property goes to that person’s heirs instead of the other person on the title. If two people own the property, they each own one-half interest. If one person dies and the property goes to their two kids, then the property is owned by the other person on the deed plus the decedent’s kids.

If you want to have the property titled as Tenants by Entirety, you have to be legally married. This assumes that you both are one person. If one person dies, the title is transferred to the other. In most cases, the property does not have to go through probate when one person dies.

Sole Ownership means that you and only you own the property. You can be married and have a property titled as sole ownership – in the event of death, the entire property goes to your heirs and your spouse does not get the property unless you will it to them.

You can also hold property as a corporation, a partnership, or in trust. The property is titled in the name of the business or the trust. When a trust holds property, disposition depends on the type of trust. If you are not sure how to title property to best benefit you, speak with a real estate attorney before you close on the property.

Outdoor Cooking: Creating a Stunning Outdoor Kitchen

Photo by Allison Gillett via Pixabay
 

You can create a stunning outdoor kitchen using basic components and pulling things together over time. Entertaining outdoors has become so popular that supplies and materials for cooking are easy to come by in a variety of price points. Follow the steps below to make the most of the process. 

Foolproof Steps to Creating an Outdoor Kitchen you’ll Love

Determine what you need. A kitchen showroom can be overwhelming — but you may not need everything you see. If you love the look of the striking pizza ovens, but no one in the family eats pizza, you may get little use from this purchase, and miss out on the space you’ve used later. What do you like to cook, what do you like to serve and what components matter most to you? These should go to the top of your list. 

Where will people sit?: The best part of an outdoor kitchen is the entertaining you can do in the space. You should think about how many people you like to host at a time, where they’ll sit and what you envision for the space. An outdoor kitchen that is designed for the family and a guest or two may need to seat six people, but if you entertian large groups, then you’ll need to allot more space to seating — 12 to 16 people is an ideal start. 

Where will you keep the food? Do you want to prep inside and cook outside? Or do  you prefer having everything together? If you need the food on hand, a fridge should be included in your plans. If you want to keep the food inside, consider adding a wine or beer fridge instead; it will take up less room and get regular use. 

What will you cook? A grill is a great starting point, since you can cook a variety of foods. Determine if you want to buy a freestanding piece or have something built in — this will likely be the largest and most expensive component. Once this is in place, decide what else you need; other cook surfaces, a sink or specialty surface could be next on your list. 

Begin with your largest pieces, like your grill and table, then add items as you need too. Your pillows, textiles and accessories can be chosen last, then added and used as needed to create a space that is uniquely yours. 

Your outdoor kitchen can be a work in progress; you don’t have to complete it all at once. Adding something new each season or year allows you to spread out the cost of your new kitchen and add components as you need them. 

Traits of Successful House Hunters

Searching for the ideal home is an exciting adventure, but it can also be fraught with setbacks, delays, and disappointments. With a little preparation, however, you can avoid many of the potential pitfalls that could happen along the way.

One of the secrets of successful house hunters is to adopt a positive attitude, but temper it with a dose of realism.

Flexibility is also important, but it pays to be steadfast about your absolute requirements, also known as your “must have” list.

To help ensure a successful house hunting experience, here are a few of the key attitudes and qualities that are worth taking inventory of and cultivating.

Persistence: Although it does happen, it’s unlikely that the house of your dreams is going to show up at the beginning of your search. As seasoned house hunters know, it’s not unusual to have to look at dozens of houses for sale before finding just the right one. But even when you’ve reached that turning point, there still may be obstacles, hurdles, and challenges to deal with. The perfect example is a bidding war. What if you’re all ready to make an offer on the ideal house, but it turns out that one or more other buyers have their sights set on that same house? That can not only be stressful, but it can stretch your housing budget to its outer limits (and beyond)! On one hand, you have to be willing to walk away from a property that would leave you “house poor”, but on the other hand, you may want to consider pursuing a real estate deal that’s on the high end of your budget, but financially doable. Working with a knowledgeable real estate agent who’s a skilled negotiator can help give you an edge when you’re confronted with a so-called “bidding war.”

Optimism: If you view house hunting as a process which will eventually produce your desired outcome, then you’ll be a lot more motivated to go the distance, rather than lower your standards or give up entirely. A positive attitude will help you overcome setbacks, identify workable solutions, and recognize opportunities when they present themselves.

Organization: Whether you prefer the idiom “The devil is in the details” or “God is in the details,” the lesson is still the same: Small details can have a big impact. Staying goal-oriented and organized can help propel you forward and avoid frustrations. Knowing your credit score, establishing a realistic housing budget, and scheduling meetings with mortgage lenders will help you stay on course, be prepared, and steer clear of unnecessary delays. It also helps to take notes, create lists, and follow a daily or weekly action plan.

Buying a house is an important priority which can affect the quality of your life in many ways. By staying organized, focused, and positive about your search, your chances of success will be enhanced many times over.

Easy Summer Upgrades for Your Backyard

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Summer is a great time of the year. Long sunny days, short warm nights, and clear weather that stretches across the sky. Summer is a season to savor. An excellent way to enjoy summer is by taking your living outside and relaxing in the backyard. If your backyard is cringe-worthy rather than show-stopping, it’s time for a makeover. Upgrading your backyard does not necessarily mean you will need to spend a hefty sum of money; there are some uncomplicated ways you can improve your backyard this summer without breaking the bank.

  • Shine up the area: Scrub the tables, chairs, and other furniture in your backyard. Simple cleaning is enough to give your yard the facelift it needs.

  • Get rid of some stuff: Sort through your gardening tools, plant pots,  toys and bikes in your backyard. Give away or sell the things you don’t use. Invest in a storage unit to hide occasional or seasonal use items like lawnmowers, snowblowers, that edger, and the rototiller.

  • Invest in furniture: A comfortable patio chair, table, and even a hammock can all help make your backyard more attractive and ready for entertaining. Look for mid-season discounts and specials to find the best deal.

  • Put in a pathway: Consider installing a path with gravel, sand, or stone. Use the trail to indicate the specific areas of the yard, such as a play area for corn hole or bocce, a dining spot to entertain guests, a fire pit or a garden.

  • Eliminate bugs: Hanging out in your backyard during summer is a beautiful experience, but that experience can turn sour when bugs come around. Invest in deterrents such as citronella, lavender, lemon-grass, marigolds, rosemary, or sage to ensure your space is a bug-free.

  • Be decorative with the lights: If you have a tree in your backyard, wrap string lights around the trunks to get a soft glow or hang fairy lights from the branches. The soft light is ideal for a summer get-together. You can also install solar-powered fixtures around your patio or deck give your backyard a fresh look.

  • Fix the fence: If your fence is intact, a simple cleaning or coat of paint may do the trick. However,  if boards are coming loose or it’s missing a few rails, installing a new fence or doing some repair will create the perfect backdrop in your outdoor entertainment space.

Upgrading your backyard is easy and budget-friendly. Most of these projects you can do yourself, but for your fence installation ensure that you contact a professional fence installer for the best possible results. If you’re preparing your home to place it on the market, ask your realtor which outdoor projects will provide the best impression.