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How is real estate handled during estate planning?

Many Ohio residents have worked hard to purchase their homes, and they want to pass those assets down to their loved ones when the time comes. The manner in which a piece of real estate is handled is based on the provisions that were laid out during the estate planning process. As with any other significant decision, the best way to make a good choice is to gather as much information as possible.

The most important thing to remember is the risk of taking no action at all. When an individual dies without a will, the laws of the state will dictate how property is dispersed. The outcome can be very different from what the deceased intended, and, in some cases, it can lead to expensive and stressful litigation between family members.

Drafting a will is one way to dictate the manner in which real estate and other assets will be handled after an individual's death. A piece of property can be handed down to one heir or divided into shares and passed down to multiple heirs. Those shares do not have to be equal.

Another way to handle real estate in an estate plan is to place the property into a trust. This is a good option for many families, as a trust serves to "protect" the property from loss due to divorce or financial troubles. Trusts can be as complicated or simple as needed, and there is a solution available to fit virtually every set of needs.

When evaluating various estate planning options, Ohio residents should remain focused on their ultimate goals, which are to hand down accumulated wealth to those who will be left behind. Different approaches will have different tax ramifications, which is just one consideration among many. With the judicious use of wills, trusts and other tools, real estate can be passed down in a manner that makes sense for all involved.

Source:, "Real Estate and Your Estate Plan: How Does It Work?", Deborah Kearns, Oct. 29, 2015

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