The wording on Real Estate Deeds is critical. This is true whether you are using a trust based plan or otherwise. Our most recent case in this office involved a situation where single Mom bought a new home. She elected to title the home as Mom and Daughter. When Mom died a few weeks ago Daughter assumed, incorrectly, that she owned the house. In Missouri when real estate is titled jointly by individuals (other than a married couple) you don’t automatically get a “survivorship” interest. You must add the magic words “joint tenants with rights of survivorship”, or simply JTWROS to accomplish this. Daughter must clear Mom’s interest in the house through probate. She is unhappy, and will spend over a thousand dollars to fix this, not to mention her time and effort.
This was more an error of ommission rather than one of commission. Nobody thought about it, nobody checked, the title company preparing the deed just did it. It was easily preventable. Had Mom done even the simplest of estate planning this would likely have been caught in corrected.
Real Estate investments are commonly among the larger transactions that we enter into. Don’t be penny-wise and dollar-foolish. See a lawyer!!