Transferring Real Estate to a Family Member
When it comes to gifting real estate to a family member, a lack of options isn’t the issue—there are many vehicles at your disposal. For most people, especially those with large estates and significant real estate holdings, the primary concern is finding the method that will incur the fewest financial penalties.
This section will explore three common ways of transferring ownership of real estate: Gifting real estate while you’re alive, with a trust and through inheritance.
Gifting Real Estate While You Are Alive
If you’re interested in gifting real estate to a family member while you are alive, you can accomplish this by using a deed. There are many types of real estate deeds in Ohio, including the following:
- Quitclaim deed. The quitclaim deed is a popular way to transfer real estate ownership, but it doesn’t make any warranties or guarantees about the property’s title. As a result, it’s best reserved for situations in which the parties involved are familiar with and trust each other, such as between family members.
- General warranty deed. As the most comprehensive type of real estate transfer deed in Ohio, the general warranty deed provides a high level of protection to the buyer. It contains guarantees from the seller (or grantor) that they possess a clear title to the property and will defend it against any defects that come to light.
- Special warranty deed. Although you can use a special warranty deed to transfer ownership of real estate, this deed only provides title guarantees for the time the grantor owned the property.
- Bargain and sale deed. A bargain and sale deed is used to transfer ownership of property in Ohio and some other states. Although it implies some warranties and covenants, it doesn’t offer the same level of protection as a general warranty deed.
- Life estate deed. This type of deed allows you to transfer property while retaining a life estate interest, meaning you retain the right to live on or use the property for the duration of your life.
Any deed used for gifting real estate to family members needs to contain certain key elements. It must identify you as the current owner or grantor, name the new owner or grantee and provide a legal description of the property you’re transferring. You must sign the deed in front of a notary public or another authorized officer who will acknowledge the signing.
Transferring Real Estate Through a Trust
Another effective way to transfer real estate is through a trust. A trust removes your personal ownership of a property, meaning it’s an effective way to avoid probate. Many people, regardless of the particular assets included in their estate, make efforts to avoid probate as it can prove a costly and time-consuming process for their beneficiaries.
Transferring real estate through a trust provides the grantor with the ability to continue controlling how real property is used and, just as importantly, when it is actually transferred to a family member. A trust allows the grantor to set parameters and guidelines, as well as to set specific conditions that beneficiaries must meet before inheriting a property.
Giving Real Estate as Inheritance
Property owners may also choose to give their real estate as inheritance, such as through a trust or last will and testament. By transferring real estate in this way, a grantor’s heirs may be able to receive a property without paying capital gains tax.
However, it’s important to understand that giving real estate through inheritance in Ohio typically means it will go through the probate process. This legal process will involve identifying your heirs, appointing an executor or administrator to your estate, completing a property valuation and paying remaining estate taxes and debts.
After your heirs complete these steps, your estate will be distributed to them and your real estate deed transferred. It’s also important to note that when your heirs inherit real estate, their tax basis for the property will be decided by its fair market value, according to Ohio’s “step-up basis.” If they choose to sell it, their tax rate will be based on the difference between the value of the property at the time they took ownership and the sale price or purchase price, rather on than on a cost basis.Contact Us