There are many reasons to try and avoid probate. Probate can be extremely time-consuming, and it can also be expensive. The public nature of probate is also off-putting to many individuals.
In order to get around property going through probate, many people consider putting their adult child on the deed to their home. However, this almost always causes more trouble than it is worth. According to InCharge debt solutions, a better solution is to put the property in a trust.
How does this help avoid probate?
This particular stratagem revolves around the benefits of joint tenancy. If individuals hold a property in joint tenancy, meaning that multiple names are on the deed to the home, then if one owner of the home dies the home automatically goes to the surviving owners. In this instance, the surviving owners bypass probate entirely.
Why is this not a good idea?
The moment you put your adult child’s name on the deed to your home, that child becomes an equal owner of the property. This means that if your child owes back pay on your taxes, or marries and then divorces, this can have consequences for your home. The IRS may put a lien against your home if your child is delinquent on taxes. You may end up with your child’s ex-spouse as partial owner of the home if the law considers your house part of joint marital property.
A better solution is to put your home in a living trust. This makes the trust the owner of the property and not you or your child. When you die, you can stipulate your child as a beneficiary of the trust.