One of the primary goals of estate planning is to help your heirs avoid probate. Probate can take a very long time, particularly if any of your beneficiaries dispute your will or trusts. Probate is also a public process as it goes through the court system. Many people wish to keep their estate dissemination private.
Thus, some enterprising older adults are thinking about putting their adult child’s name on the deed to their home instead of passing down the property through a will. While there are some benefits to this gambit, according to InCharge Debt Solutions, this can also put your property at risk.
What are the benefits?
Estate planners who think about putting their adult child on the deed to the home are relying on the idea of joint tenancy. If multiple adults own a property in joint tenancy, there is the benefit of the “right of survivorship.”
With the right of survivorship, if one of the property owners dies, the other property owners inherit the property automatically you. There is no probate in this situation.
What could go wrong?
If you put your adult child on the deed to your home before your death, that adult child becomes an equal owner of the property immediately. This means that if the IRS goes after your adult child for delinquent taxes, they might put a lien against your home.
Even if you only wish to sell or refinance the property, you will need the permission of your adult child to do so. This can be problematic, and it is almost always a better idea to put your property into a living trust if you wish to pass it on to your child without probate.