Q: My father owns land in Puerto Rico penulas. He has the deed I believe and wants to pass the land to myself and child.
Can he write a will to do so or would we need to transfer the deed?
A: Is your father currently living in Wisconsin or in Puerto Rico? If he is living in Wisconsin, he can execute a Will that leaves the land to you at death. However, upon his death, this will require you to open two probates, one in Wisconsin for his Wisconsin property and a probate action in Puerto Rico in order to transfer title to the property to you and your child. If your Father lives in Wisconsin, a better option might be to execute a Revocable Living Trust, and have your father sign the deed transferring title to the land to the Trustee of the trust right now. Then when he passes, the title to the property would pass outside of probate (without needing to open a probate action in Puerto Rico) to whoever your father designates in his Trust. One advantage to passing property at death, is that you get new basis for capital gains tax purposes upon the death of the person who passes the property. If your Father currently resides in Puerto Rico, then he will need to execute a Puerto Rico Will stating what he wishes to happen to his property. I was in Puerto Rico in April attending a real estate investment conference and I talked to some local lawyers there and I am told there Trust code is not well developed. Therefore, a second option he might want to consider is forming a Trust formed in the mainland of the U.S., he can choose a state that makes sense to him, and then form a trust under the jurisdiction of the laws of that state (I recommend choosing a state without an inheritance tax, like Wisconsin), and then transfer title to the property to the trust while he is alive. This would also avoid the need for a probate in Puerto Rico on this property when he passes. However, any of these options will likely need the assistance of a Puerto Rico lawyer and Notary to prepare the deed to transfer the property to the trust. Puerto Rico follows the Spanish system regarding deeds, therefore it is a bit different than the laws of most of the mainland U.S. If you decide to go the Trust route, a good U.S. based lawyer can probably assist you with finding help in Puerto Rico to get the deed transfer accomplished to the Trust.
Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.
The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.
Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.