Legally Protect with a Will & Insure It
Monday, August 1st, 2022 - By Amber Nestor Professional Real Estate Agent for Tennessee
Disclaimer: While I have consulted with over 20+ title companies on matters such as those discussed below, and have consulted with over 7 attorneys as well on these topics below, please remember to always hire your own attorney. Laws change. Each situation is unique. There are many options to obtain Warranty Deed that is fully insured, or the closest marketable thing to it. I am sharing a bit of my own experience with you today, which I have acquired by working for many, many customers and clients over the years of my career. I am not myself an attorney. Thank you. Read on.
(If you have already been told by an attorney that your property can not obtain a fully insured Warranty Deed, contact me today about creative ways to monetize this property that might still help benefit you.}
If I could offer a land owner, or real estate (building) owner, advice, it would be this:
Insure your property!
Legally protect your property with an iron-clad will, created by an attorney
Make sure important people, who are close to you, and who love you, and who you trust, have copies of these documents, and any updates or changes made to them, yearly!
Include clauses that notify everyone, that you can change this at any time you desire, before you die!
If you don't insure your real estate, it's like driving your car uninsured. Not wise, and we all understand this concept. Insure your property to the highest level which you can, and include all of the potential use types that your property is being utilized for in this policy. For example, do you have tenants, renters, etc.? Make sure that is covered! Are you leaving the property empty for spans of time? Make sure that is covered! Are there parts of the home that may be old or defective, or could say burst and flood? Make sure that is covered!
In regards to a will, this is really imperative. Everyone should be looking into wealth management, asset management, and strategies for passing what you own on to whatever person or organization is important to you. It is YOUR life's work, so make sure it is protected with a will. Also, if you go to probate or chancery court, you can argue the terms of a will. So, if you want to dispute the terms of a will, do it! Almost everything in life is negotiable to some degree. Remember that!
Here is what can happen, if it is NOT protected with a will. Let's say a person has 4 siblings. And those siblings all have 2 children each. And each of those children get married twice, and have 1 child by each marriage. And all of those people are moving all over the country, living their lives, and working, and educating themselves, and they are just spread out everywhere.
The problem is that, in a practical sense, you might never, in your lifetime, be able to obtain a totally free and clear Warranty Deed that is 100% insurable, which means that anyone who buys that property from you, even if they sign a document stating that they are willing to accept a certain amount of liability in doing so, may forever have risks associated with developing on that property, and might always have to only use cash to develop, because lenders might refuse to do construction loans on property that does not a fully insured title / deed. And, if they try to sell that property, that problem and liability gets passed forward, and onward. And ultimately it can diminish the value of the property tremendously.
It seems extremely unfair, because it is. You would think logically that a person who has paid all the taxes on their deceased sibling's property for 10+ years, would have no problem getting a fully insured Warranty Deed, but unfortunately, it is so much more complex.
If the property was abandoned to a county tax sale, it would be easier possibly for the person who bought it at tax sale to acquire a fully insured Warranty Deed, than it would be for the blood relative to get such a thing accomplished who been paying the taxes and maintaining said property for over a decade of their life!
Yes, our legal system is quite silly sometimes. Unfortunately people, who are fallible and imperfect, create and maintain our legal systems, and our population and problems and intricacies we all face are so vast and busy, that until a problem becomes unbearably pressing, often time the problems and weak links in our legal system persist on, tormenting us all. (hahaha) No, but seriously, this is real problem, and if you care about what happens to the assets your created with your own life's work and elbow grease, and sweat of your brow, I implore you, get an iron clad will.
Otherwise, one of your relatives will find themselves in quite an unfortunate dilemma. And do you really want no one to get your stuff? Do you really want all your stuff to just be repossessed by the state? If it gets too complicated to pass on your things, then people eventually can't find a buyer, and so they give up, and the state just gets all your stuff. Don't let that happen to you, and your family.
I hope this helps bring some awareness to the complexities of the chain of ownership for property, land, and real estate. If it helps even one person avoid this sort of trouble in their life, then this blog post was worth typing.
Thank you for visiting.
Amber Nestor - Professional Real Estate Agent for Tennessee, Specializing in Land, Luxury, and Waterfront Properties
Do you have a doozy? One that's hard to sell? Well call me! I'd love to help! I have tons of experience working with sellers in exactly these types of dilemmas.