My mother recently passed away after an almost 60-year marriage to my father. As an only child, I grew up. Although my mother was married before my father, she has a son who is my half-brother. I am my father’s only kid. She didn’t give birth to him, and she hadn’t even seen him until he looked her up a few decades ago.
My father made sure that I received their house, their savings, and their personal belongings without going through the probate process when my mother passed away so that nothing could be disputed. What he did was this. He submitted a transfer-on-death deed for the residence with the county recorder in our county. The house will immediately pass into my name after his passing. No need for a probate.
“My half-brother is a very good man and ten years older than me. In the past 20 years, I’ve only seen him four or five times at most; before that, I had never seen him. We seldom ever communicate.
He then made his checking and savings accounts TOD (transfer on death) to me at the bank. The only things remaining are the furnishings and the home’s personal belongings, which dad left to me in his will. His wishes, as well as those of my mother, are that I receive everything.
My half-brother is a wonderful man who is ten years older than myself. In the past 20 years, I’ve only seen him four or five times at most; before that, I had never seen him. We don’t actually keep in touch. My half-brother cannot oppose the transfer of the house to me because my father claims it will happen through a transfer-on-death deed. Is that accurate? Have we acted appropriately? And is there anything we’re missing?
Daughter and Half-Sister in Missouri
Good day, half-sister
Because of a transfer-on-death deed, you inherit the home after your father passes away. Similar to how a beneficiary on a bank account or insurance policy functions As you point out, it also avoids probate because the house passes to you after your father passes away, avoiding the need for a public accounting of his assets and debts. It is a different option from include you in the deed right away. By doing this, he continues to be in charge of and be the owner of the property throughout his life.
Your half-brother might have been eligible to inherit from your mother’s estate if she had passed away intestate, or without a will. According to Missouri intestate law, the children inherit the remaining assets after the spouse receives the first $20,000 of intestate property and half of the remaining amount. However, if your parents had a joint tenancy agreement, then upon your mother’s passing, your father would have become the sole owner of their property.
According to MarketWatch columnist Howard Gold, “Joint tenancy with rights of survivorship (JTWROS) can be used to own bank, savings, fund, and brokerage accounts in addition to real estate. According to JTWROS, all “tenants” have an equal stake in the property, which automatically goes to the surviving tenants following the death of one owner. Contrary to the other two primary kinds of ownership, JTWROS includes unmarried couples.
Are you acting ethically? There is no right or incorrect answer. One kid may inherit from your parents’ estate, according to the law. It is their decision and estate. It does not seem strange that your father and late mother intended you to receive their entire assets, especially since your mother survived your father, given that your mother did not raise her son and he has a distinct and prosperous life. In conclusion: The legal heir to your father’s estate is not your half-brother.
Are there any things you’re missing? Your estate attorney should respond to that query. Before your father passes away, a transfer-on-death or beneficiary deed must be notarized and entered in the county land records. You must outlast your father by 120 hours in accordance with Missouri law. There are no gift taxes owed because the house is not regarded as a gift. Additionally, this method of property transfer is preferable to the convoluted and frequently expensive steps required to place a property in a trust.
The most positive aspect of your story is that you are in touch with your half-brother and that you two get along well and encourage each other. I hope it continues for a very long time and that you and he develop the kind of bond that you may have had if you and he had grown up together. There are more significant things in life than money, but reading this column might not always make that clear.
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