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How does real property pass down to your heirs?

When considering various estate planning options, many Tennessee families are interested in learning how their real property will pass down to their chosen heirs. The answer depends in large part on the level of planning that a family has undertaken, and the structure of the overall estate plan. In short, there are a number of ways that real estate property can pass down, not all of which are equally desirable.

It is not necessary to construct a will in order to hand down real estate. Absent a will, the laws of the state will dictate how real property is handled and which surviving family members will be entitled to all or part of a piece of property. This, however, is usually not the preferred means of inheritance, as it gives the original owner very little say in who will receive said property. For those who want to choose who will inherit a piece of property, drawing up a will is a good option.

In cases in which an individual wishes to pass down a piece of real estate to multiple heirs, there are a number of options that will accomplish that goal. It is possible to divide up the interest in a property in multiple parts, and those parts do not have to be equal. Here again having a will in place is a good option and allows the original owner to clearly outline his or her wishes in regard to real estate holdings.

Once a loved one inherits part or all of a piece of Tennessee property, it is imperative that he or she create their own estate plan. This allows the new owner to control where the property would go in the event of his or her own death. As with many estate planning topics, this is an issue that should be discussed with one's heirs, so that there are no misunderstandings when the time comes to hand down real estate.

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

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