When someone passes away, the way that their assets move on to their heirs and beneficiaries is very important. It is crucial to plan for this in advance, something that people often put off because they feel like they have plenty of time.
It's never too early to start planning. Just think about how it will impact your family if you pass away with no plan in place, and this importance becomes clear.
Two ways that you can do this are with transfer-on-death designation affidavits and survivorship affidavits.
Transfer-on-death designation affidavits
A transfer-on-death designation affidavit sets things up so that real estate property will automatically move into someone else's name when the person who owns that property passes away. This property does not have to get included in that person's will, and, as such, it does not have to run through the standard probate process. It is simply transferred automatically to the person named in the paperwork.
There are a handful of benefits here, with one of the main ones being the fact that the person who owns the property still owns it before he or she passes away. That person does not have to consult the other one to do anything at all regarding that property, including selling it. With other transfer methods, the property owner may lose ownership while they are still alive. This strategy ensures that nothing changes until the transfer actually needs to happen.
One important thing to note is that a spouse has to agree to this, as the person may pass away before that spouse, which would mean that the property would traditionally transfer to the living spouse. In order for the new set-up to work, the spouse has to acknowledge that he or she agrees with it and puts precedence on the transfer-on-death designation affidavit to give the property to the third party.
When two or more people own property together, they may be considered joint tenants. This situation can work well in life, but the surviving tenants may wonder about their rights and ownership if the other person passes away. A survivorship affidavit transfers the ownership interest that was previously held by the deceased person over to the tenants who are still alive.
Essentially, this can help if there would be any dispute about who has a right to that share of the property, including heirs who may believe that they do. This set-up transfers the ownership to the other tenant so that they can then own the property outright.
What steps to take
As you can see, there are many ways to transfer property in Ohio. Make sure you know all of the legal steps you'll need to take.