How it works

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Preparation of Deeds between family members

  1.  Discuss the terms of the deed with the new owners. This involves clarifying tenancy between the property owners. Will it be a joint tenancy or a tenancy in common? Most family members prefer to hold property as joint tenants with the right to survivorship. This allows the property to pass to the remaining owners without expensive probate.

  2. Hire real estate attorney David Smith to prepare the deed. While you can technically do this yourself, it can be complicated, especially if you’re preparing a warranty deed. The deed needs to be accurate, so it’s worth investing in an attorney to guide you. The deed includes personal details about you and the family member to whom you’re transferring your title. It also has a legal description of the property — you can use the description in the government plats or your original deed if you have access to it.

  3.  Review the deed. Read over the deed and double-check that all information is accurate and complete. Be sure that the seller and buyer have entered their full legal names and correct addresses, and pay special attention to the legal description. The form will have blanks for signatures, but don’t sign these yet.

  4. Sign the deed in front of a notary public, with witnesses present. The deed must be signed by all sellers in front of a qualified notary public and any other witnesses required by your state’s law. It then needs to be notarized with a signature and seal. The buyer doesn’t have to sign anything.

  5. File the deed on the public record. To complete the property transfer, take the deed to the local county recorder’s office to be filed. This is called “recording the deed,” and failing to follow through with this step can cause problems later on because no one would know about your relative’s claim to the property. At this point, you may need to pay fees and taxes associated with the deed. By the end of the day, the county should have the buyer on file as the new owner.

Medical Directives (Living Wills)

A living will is a document that falls into the category of advance directives. Therefore, a living will is a type of advance directive. Other types of advance directives include: a durable power of attorney (aka health care proxy), do not resuscitate order, and organ donation form. An advance directive is a set of instructions someone prepares in advance of ill health that determines his healthcare wishes. A living will is one type of advance directive that becomes effective when a person is terminally ill.

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Trusted, Knowledgeable and Experienced Since 1951