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Wills can guide the distribution of real estate

Many Philadelphia residents have worked long and hard to pay off their home, and plan to pass that asset down to loved ones when the time comes. The manner in which real estate is handled within estate planning can be complicated, however, when the proper steps are not taken. For many families, wills are a good starting point in the estate planning process.

With a will, an individual can outline the manner in which real estate should be handed down to loved ones. Absent a will, the state's probate rules will guide that process, and the outcome could be far different than what was intended. This is an area in which simply stating one's intentions is not enough: those wishes need to be put into writing in a format that the state will honor.

When considering how to divide a piece of property, a number of options exist. A property can be handed down in equal measures to children or grandchildren. Alternatively, unequal shares can also be handed down, but this approach can lead to tension and strife between heirs. Families who plan to hand down shares of unequal value should consider discussing the matter with those heirs in advance.

Overall, wills provide a good fit for many Philadelphia residents who are planning their estate. In some cases, an individual's goals are better served with a trust; this is especially true in regard to real estate. Each and every scenario is unique, but the important thing to remember is that there is an estate planning solution available for every set of needs.

Source:, "Real Estate and Your Estate Plan: How Does It Work?", Deborah Kearns, Oct. 29, 2015

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