Can I put my adult child on my deed?

On Behalf of | Feb 5, 2021 | Estate Planning |

A primary goal of many estate planners is to help their heirs avoid probate. Avoiding probate can save your heirs a lot of frustration. Additionally, some people do not care for the very public nature of probate.

One potential way to avoid your home going through probate is to put an adult child on the deed to your home. However, this is almost never a good idea. While this can help your heirs avoid probate, it also can end up being a very expensive mistake depending on the wiles of your child’s financial life.

Why would this help avoid probate?

If multiple entities own the same property, then if one of the entities dies the property automatically goes to the surviving party. Essentially, naming your child as a direct owner of your home before your death makes them an owner in full right away. It is the same logic as one spouse dying and the other spouse automatically becoming the full owner of a house. The property will not go through probate at this point.

What are the downsides?

The moment you put another adult on the deed to your home, that adult becomes an equal owner of the property. For example, if your child is not up-to-date on his or her taxes, it is probable the IRS would choose to put a lien on the property as a punitive measure.

A superior option to put in your adult child on the deed to your home is to open a revocable living trust. Revocable living trust to give you the ability to help your heirs avoid probate but the property does not pass to the beneficiary until after your death.