Q: “I’d like to leave my home to my child. Should I add my child to the deed?”
A: If you add a child as a joint tenant to your house, you will each have an equal ownership interest. You will also be making a gift to your child (potentially subject to gift tax). If one joint tenant were to die, his interest automatically becomes the other joint tenant’s interest. This will have the benefit of avoiding probate.
An important reason why it may not be a good idea to add a child to the title to your house is that creditors can attach a joint (non- spouse) tenant’s property interest to satisfy a debt or judgment. Moreover, a co-owner of the property can sue to partition (or divide) the property so that one owner can force the other to leave.
Comment: In many cases, transferring property to a revocable trust is a better option to avoid probate as the property will pass outside of the probate estate. A trust also allows you to maintain control of the property until your death or incapacity.
As always, if you have any questions or would like to learn more, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 301-575-0313.
ABOUT STEVE SHANE
Steve Shane provides strategic counseling to clients in need of estate administration, charitable giving and business continuity planning while minimizing estate, gift, and generation-skipping transfer tax exposure. He offers legal guidance to clients on asset protection and the proper disposition of assets in accordance with the client’s objectives, while employing tax planning techniques such as the use of irrevocable trusts, life insurance planning, lifetime gifts and charitable trust. He is also experienced with drafting documents for business planning, the incorporation and application for exemption for Private Foundations and the administration of decedents’ estates.
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