When you die, your biggest assets may have to pass through the California probate courts. Probate proceedings often mean that your family members have to wait months before they have access to or control over your property. Probate also means that your assets could also be vulnerable to claims by creditors.
If you want to pass your home on to someone who already lives with you, there is a very simple way for you to plan ahead so that they don’t have to go through probate court to assume ownership over the property.
You can change the way that you hold title so that it transfers when you die
Many people who own real estate jointly with another person take title in a way that protects their individual interest in the property. That way, each owner can assign their portion of equity or ownership interest to someone else in their estate plan.
However, if the person you want to receive the property is your co-owner and they live with you, there is a simpler solution. You can change the title so that you are now joint tenants with rights of survivorship. The biggest benefit of this type of ownership is that when one of you dies, your interest in the property automatically transfers to the other person.
There are no probate proceedings required or tax consequences for the transfer in most cases. Changing how you hold title can be easier than other approaches to keep your home out of probate court. Thinking about your estate planning goals can help you decide the best way to handle your this and other significant assets.