One of the main reasons people go through the estate planning process is to help their heirs avoid probate. There are many reasons to avoid probate, since probate is expensive and very time-consuming.
Some Americans consider putting their child on the deed to their home as a way to help their property avoid probate, but this is almost never a good idea. As per InCharge Debt Solutions, putting an adult child on your deed can potentially result in you losing the property.
How would this help avoid probate?
Estate planners who are thinking of trying this gambit are relying on the benefits of joint tenancy. Joint tenancy means that more than one person owns a specific property. If multiple persons hold a property in joint tenancy, when one party dies the property automatically belongs to the surviving party without probate.
In this way, putting an adult child on the deed to your home can indeed avoid probate. However, this does not make it a good idea.
Why would I lose my home?
The moment you put another person’s name on your deed is the moment that he or she becomes just as much of an owner of the property as you are. There are no benefits to owning the property for longer.
For example, if your adult child owes the IRS taxes, it would be possible for the IRS to put a lien against your home if your child’s name is on the deed. If your child marries and divorces, the courts could consider your home part of your child’s marital property. A better way to avoid probate in this situation is to create a living trust.