Avoiding probate is often a main goal of estate planning. After all, if the law ties your assets up in probate, that means that your heirs will not have access to them. This can be stressful, particularly if you have people in your life who will depend on your estate plan, such as disabled family members.
However, not all strategies to avoid probate are equal. Many estate planners wonder if putting their adult child on the deed to their home is a smart way to avoid probate. While owning a property in joint tenancy will indeed avoid probate, most of the time this is not a good idea, as per InCharge Debt Solutions.
What is joint tenancy?
The moment you put your child’s name on the deed to your home, this makes your child an equal owner in the property. If a property is in joint tenancy, this means that if one party dies, the other party automatically inherits the property without the property going through probate.
Why is this a bad idea?
You get no extra “credit” in the eyes of the law for owning the property first. As soon as your child’s name is on the deed you will need his or her permission to take actions regarding the property, like selling it or taking out a home equity loan. Even if you do not anticipate this to be a problem, if your child fails to pay taxes to the IRS and his or her name is on the deed to your house, there is the possibility of the IRS putting a lien against the property.