Beloit, WI asked in Real Estate Law for Wisconsin

Q: My cousin and I co own our deceased grandparents property. How do I make sure my half goes to my daughter when I die?

We both want our children, not the surviving owner, to inherit our shares. We both (my cousin and I) live in the state of WI and the property is in MI. Does the inheritence info go into our deed or each of our wills?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Thomas B. Burton
Thomas B. Burton
  • Eau Claire, WI
  • Licensed in Wisconsin

A: The answer to this question will depend on how title to the real estate is held with your cousin. If you hold it as joint tenants, then the survivor of either of you would inherit the deceased person's interest. However, I think it is more likely that you hold it as tenants in common because it sounds like you inherited it from your grandparents. I would examine the deed carefully with a lawyer to see how title is held. As tenants in common, each person's interest in the property will pass according to their own estate plan. So, for this land in Michigan, you can either name your daughter as the recipient of the land in your Will in Wisconsin, OR what I would strongly recommend you consider is putting the land in a revocable trust. This trust could hold title to real estate you own in both states, in both Michigan and Wisconsin, and could avoid having to open two probate court actions upon your death. If you use a Will to pass the property to your daughter, upon your death, she will need to open a probate in Michigan for your real estate there, and a probate in Wisconsin for your probate assets in Wisconsin. Instead, one trust could avoid probate in both states. Finally, I recommend you sit down with a qualified estate planning attorney who can examine the title to the land in question and lay out your best options for getting the real estate to your daughter upon your death.

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