What Is a Virginia Transfer-On-Death Deed?

death deed

Do you know what will happen to your home if you were to pass away? If you have loved ones or specific intentions for your home, this needs to be documented in an estate plan.

There are many different estate planning tools available to you and a conversation with a Virginia Beach estate planning lawyer can help you to identify which documents you may need to help accomplish your individual intentions. Virginia law allows people to transfer ownership rights to real property in Virginia to beneficiaries without having to go through probate.

This is usually done using a document drafted by an estate planning lawyer known as a Virginia transfer-on-death deed. A transfer-on-death deed in Virginia can only be used for real estate property. No personal property like jewelry or cars can be transferred via a transfer-on-death deed. When you pass away, this can be a very cost effective and simple way to give real property to someone else, such as a spouse who may not be named on the mortgage. This can avoid costly court procedures and hoops for that spouse to jump through during an already difficult time.

Much like a beneficiary designation for your retirement account or life insurance account, a transfer-on-death deed allows someone else to automatically inherit the property when the current owner passes away and avoids the process of probate. There are other options available to you in Virginia to help you avoid probate proceedings, such as having the property owned by a living trust, owned in tenancy by the entirety or joint tenancy.

Make sure to discuss whether this is the right fit for you as a joint or individual property owner for whom a trust or other type of probate avoidance may not be the best choice. Contact our Virginia Beach estate office now for further help.

Why Is a Date of Death Value So Important for Your Estate Plan?

When you pass away, the individual appointed as your personal representative is responsible for handling many different tasks in closing out your estate. One of these includes getting date of death values for all property inside a trust or in your estate. This is true and required even if only one person will inherit everything inside your estate.

In a Virginia estate, the chosen personal representative essentially becomes the custodian of this property. During the probate process, it’s managed by the personal representative and kept safe or invested until it becomes time to pass this on to pay off creditors or to distribute to estate beneficiaries.

If you sell the assets shortly after this person passes away, you would be able to use the sale value as the date of death value. Without a sale on the horizon, however, the executor is responsible for getting those assets appraised by an expert. There are four primary reasons why date of death value is so important.

These are for purposes of determining estate taxes, identifying the new tax basis for beneficiaries receiving the asset, qualifying for small estate status or splitting the estate, such as in situations in which a will calls for beneficiaries to equally share assets.

In all of these circumstances, it is important to engage the services of an appraiser. Working with a brokerage account manager is more complicated because many people reinvest their earned dividends. This means the number of shares that they would own could potentially change every single month and this would require a call into the brokerage to verify. For unique items, look for someone to assist you from the Appraisers’ Association of America or the American Society of Appraisers.

Need help with your Virginia Beach, VA estate? Reach out today for a meeting.