Title is important to designing an estate plan because you cannot plan for the disposition of property you do not own. Although you would think it easy for everyone to know what they do or do not own, the rules pertaining to property ownership are more complicated than they first appear. Unfortunately every day families unintentionally lose control and ownership of their property to others because these rules are widely misunderstood.

For example, many people that have written a will or a trust assume that all of their property will pass to their heirs according to the instructions in that document, but that is not necessarily true! Of the thousands of estate plans we have reviewed for clients seeking a second opinion of their will or trust, we have discovered that a great number of them will not work the way the clients think they will because the client’s property has never been properly titled to ensure that it passes to whom they want, when they want, and how they want.

Regardless of what you may have heard or think, unless your property is correctly titled even the best estate plan will fail to distribute it properly. Thus, in order for you to design an estate plan that accomplishes your goals, it is essential that you first understand the basic rules that govern the titling of property.