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Should I put my adult child on my deed?

If you are in the process of estate planning, it is likely that you are doing all you can to help your heirs avoid probate. Probate can be expensive and time-consuming. Many people also dislike the public nature of probate.

One way to avoid probate with your property is to have somebody on your deed who outlives you. Many well-meaning parents put their child’s name on the deed to their home in an attempt at estate planning. However, according to In Charge Debt Solutions, this is almost never a good idea.

How does this help avoid probate?

Property owners who are putting their children’s names on the deed to their home are relying on the benefits of joint tenancy. With joint tenancy, if one party dies and the other survives, the surviving party automatically inherits ownership and in the process the property avoids probate.

Why is this not a good idea?

The problem is that the moment you put your adult child name on your deed, the property becomes their possession. For instance, if your child is in a lot of debt and needs to declare Chapter 7 bankruptcy, your house then becomes part of their assets. In this case, the courts may force you to sell your home to pay off your child’s creditors.

Another potential issue is if your adult child marries and gets divorced. The courts will then consider your home part of your child’s marital property. Thus, it is possible that your child’s ex-spouse will end up with partial ownership of your home.

If you have questions about estate planning or probate, contact an attorney who is experienced in these areas.