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Home » Estate Planning » Can I put my adult child on the deed to our home?

Most people planning their estates are trying to avoid probate court. Given that probate can take a very long time and is a public process, it makes sense why many people find the idea distasteful.

However, some gambits to avoid probate cause more problems than they solve. One example of this is putting the name of your adult child on the deed to your home. According to InCharge, this can have some serious ramifications for your property while you are still alive.

How would this help avoid probate?

If you put the name of your adult child on the deed to your home, then you and your adult child own the property in joint tenancy. One of the benefits of joint tenancy is the right of survivorship. Essentially, if one owner of a property held in joint tenancy dies, the other owner receives the property right away. The property does not go through probate court in this instance.

Why would this cause problems?

There is no seniority situation with joint tenancy. The moment you put your adult child name on the deed to your home is the moment that he or she owns the property with the same rights that you do. This means that if you want to refinance or sell the property, you will need the permission of your adult child in order to do so.

Additionally, if your child has financial or legal issues, this could hurt your property. For example, if the IRS goes after your child for unpaid taxes you could end up with a lien on your home. It is usually wiser to put your property in a living trust if you wish to avoid probate.