The probate process has a notoriety for being one of the longest parts of handling an estate. This is why many people will do anything they can to avoid it, sparing their heirs and loved ones from having to wait to access their inheritence.
Many people may consider putting an adult child on the deed to their home in order to circumvent going into probate. But is this a wise choice?
InCharge discusses the deed to your home and who goes on it. First, why does putting an adult child on your deed avoid probate in the first place?
This is because having multiple people listed on the deed as homeowners places the home in “joint tenancy”, meaning multiple individuals can claim ownership. Because of this, owners will have a right of survivorship. In short, this means if one of the owners dies, it will pass on to the next owner right away, without needing to go through probate.
Joint responsibility and joint burdens
So why is this such an issue? To put it simply, putting your adult child on the deed to the house gives them an equal portion of ownership to the house that you have. If your child ends up in debt and owing to the IRS, they can put a lien on your home because it belongs to your child legally, too. If your child goes through a divorce, their ex-spouse may end up as a co-owner on your property, too.
You can instead put your house into a living trust, which is a better way to avoid probate that does not involve tying your house up in your child’s affairs.