Using generic real estate forms may cost you a fortune

Beware of fill-in-the-blank forms
Benny L. Kass, Housing Counsel recently wrote an article for the Chicago Tribune we at found quite interesting! He points out the prevalence of downloadable, generic forms on the internet… and why using them isn’t always a good idea. Here’s a few excerpts from that article:

…I cannot recommend using boilerplate forms, even those that you can tailor to your particular state. Forms are created to deal with the most basic issues and do not consider specific situations. And forms cannot answer questions or provide advice.”

…You are considering entering into what might be the most expensive transaction of your life. Don’t rely on a form. Talk with a professional…”

We couldn’t agree more! If you need specific legal or tax advice you should always consult an attorney such as Mr. Kass. For general information, a Legal Document Preparer that specializes in real estate documents (like our experts at Professional Escrow Resources) can also provide you with some answers.

Transfer on Death / Beneficiary Deeds
The author also mentions the new trend of “Transfer on Death Deeds”, or Beneficiary Deeds as they’re known in States like Arizona:

…There is a relatively new concept that has been adopted in several states, called “transfer on death deed,” also called “beneficiary deeds.” This allows you, as property owner, to prepare a deed giving the property to whomever you name as your heir, and have the deed recorded among the land records where your property is located.”

We’ve been touting the benefits of these estate planning tools for some time. Check out our Transfer on Death / Beneficiary Deed services for Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Virginia, and Wisconsin. As more States allow for this valuable tool, rest assured we’re doing what we can to encourage them along! And when they do come around we’ll be ready to assist you with the proper preparation, execution and recording of the instrument.

Time Share Nightmare
I can’t tell you how often we hear horror stories about timeshares! Here’s what one reader wrote in:

I am writing in response to a reader’s question regarding disposal of a time share. We had a Hawaiian time share from 2004 until 2011. The annual maintenance fees doubled during that time, making ownership much less attractive than when we initially made the purchase. After researching various ways to sell, donate or dispose of this asset, we determined that we could “deed back” the unit to the property at zero cost. We were able to take a deduction for this loss which resulted in a tax benefit nearly comparable to what we would have pocketed from a sale after commission and taxes. While all owners might not be in a higher tax bracket, I would recommend pursuing this option as it was relatively quick and painless and only involved contacting the resort and signing minimal paperwork.”

Sounds good, right? But that’s not always the case. Here was Mr. Kass’ reply:

Excellent suggestion, but it takes two to tango. You told me that the time-share developer agreed to take back the property. You were lucky. My experience is that most projects will not agree. And you cannot deed property to anyone unless the proposed receiver agrees to accept the property.”

I can’t tell you how often we get requests to transfer a timeshare! Although every situation is different, we’re usually able to transfer your interest in a timeshare to whoever you like (so long as they accept it)!
Real estate forms can be tricky. Make sure you consult an attorney or certified legal document preparer like Professional Escrow Resources, CLDP #81407 for your real estate form needs.