How Real Property passes at the owner’s death
For most people, their home is the largest asset in their estate. The way a principle residence passes after death depends on how it is titled during the owner’s lifetime. The following are several ways that real property passes at death:
- If you are married and own the property as tenancy by the entirety with your spouse, the property passes to your spouse automatically at your death.
- For unmarried couples, a similar type of home ownership is joint tenancy with rights of survivorship. If one partner dies, the other partner automatically inherits the house.
- A third type of joint home ownership is tenancy in common. Both parties own a share of the property. If one party dies, the share of the deceased owner passes under that person’s Will or goes to the deceased person’s heirs if he dies without a Will.
- A fourth type of home ownership is ownership by a trust. If title to a residence has been transferred to a trust during the owner’s life, the trust owns the real property and the terms of the trust determine what happens at the trust grantor’s death.
- If you are the sole owner of your real property, your Will states who inherits your real property. If you die without a Will, the property passes to your closest heirs as determined by Tennessee law.