As you prepare to leave a legacy behind for your friends or family, you’ll want to account for every detail of your estate. But when it comes to real estate, the transfer process can be complicated. Before meeting with an attorney to draw up a will, use this guide to learn about leaving property to loved ones.

A Brief Guide to Real Estate Transfers in Estate Planning

Sole Ownership

If you own a piece of real estate outright, you retain sole ownership. This means that when you pass away, the property cannot be directly transferred to someone else. First, it must pass through probate, which is the court’s process of authenticating the will. This may take weeks or even months, delaying the inheritance for your chosen beneficiary.

Joint Ownership

estate attorneyIf you own a property with another individual, you share joint ownership of the real estate. Together, you are “tenants in common.” While you share ownership, you may not do so equally—for example, you could own 70% while your spouse owns 30%.

In this case, when you pass away, you could transfer your 70% to another beneficiary, such as your daughter, while your spouse would still retain their share. If your ownership agreement is classified as joint ownership with “rights of survivorship,” then the co-owner would inherit your share after you pass (in the example above, your spouse would obtain your 70%). 

Avoiding Probate

If you’re hoping to pass your property, or your share of a property, onto a beneficiary without putting it through probate, you can set up a trust for a specific beneficiary. A trust acts like a legal safety deposit box, which can be passed off to your loved one without the court’s interference. You can also stipulate the terms of the trust, such as when the beneficiary should have access to it, and what they must do with the assets inside.


If you’re hoping to learn more about this area of estate planning, reach out to Knochel Law Offices of Bullhead City, AZ. Attorney Keith Knochel has been serving clients since 1987 and is proud to be licensed in NV, AZ, and CA. He’s helped hundreds of clients in a wide range of practice areas, from divorce to personal injury. To learn more about this respected firm and get started on estate planning, visit the website. You can also call (928) 444-1000 today to set up an appointment with an attorney.