Your estate includes all the property you own, including tangible personal property, intangible property (bank accounts, retirement accounts, insurance, business interest, investments, etc.), as well as real property.

Because real estate is an illiquid asset, it’s especially important to consider how your heirs will be affected when each receives a share of your estate. If you plan to leave your home or other structure to more than one beneficiary, some special planning is probably in order. As one California attorney so correctly observes, “Keep in mind that you need to keep interpersonal conflicts of property liquidation to a minimum in order to maintain harmony within the family unit.”

Just a few of the many estate planning considerations involving real estate holdings include:

Investment properties:
Just as when property is sold, when it is transferred there may be a capital loss or gain, and a plan to pass investment properties to a designated beneficiary needs to consider how to – and whether to – fund that liability in advance. At Geyer Law, we explore with clients the pros and cons of transferring real estate during the client’s lifetime or at death.

Principal Residence
If a home is held in joint tenancy, when one owner dies, ownership remains with the survivor. Even in this situation, there are procedures to follow as part of estate administration, and quite often, our attorneys will need to help the executor clear the title to jointly held property. If a surviving spouse later remarries, careful estate planning can avoid a situation where the property ends up in the hands of an unwanted beneficiary, nolo.com cautions.

Recreational Property
“Families spend generations building memories on recreational properties (cabins, resort condominiums, hunting grounds) and want a way to ensure that their children and grandchildren can continue using these properties after they are gone,” explains one Pennsylvania law firm. We can assist with estate planning to ensure that the property is handled appropriately, ensuring that funds and guidelines are put in place for its continued upkeep and enjoyment by family members.

Your estate includes all the property you own,, but because real estate is an illiquid asset, it’s particularly important to include in your planning.

– by Jennifer Hammond, Associate Attorney at Rebecca W. Geyer & Associates