Much of estate planning is helping your heirs avoid the probate process. There are many good reasons for this, as probate keeps your assets out of your heirs’ hands, and the process itself is public and can take a long time.
However, not all gambits to avoid probate are worth the trouble. Putting your adult child on the deed to your home is one. According to InCharge Debt Solutions, this move can cause many serious problems, up to and including foreclosure.
Why would I want to put my adult child on my deed?
Those who elect to do this are relying on the rules of holding a property in joint tenancy. Only property that belongs solely to you is part of your estate. If a property is in joint tenancy and one person dies, the property then automatically goes to the other people on the deed, so the property will avoid probate entirely.
Why is this not a good idea?
With joint tenancy, everyone who is on the deed owns the home and has equal standing. Whether you solely owned the property prior to putting your child on the deed makes no difference. Your property is subject to your child’s financial life and problems.
For instance, if your adult child owes taxes to the IRS and is on the deed to your home, the IRS could put a lien against your house. If your child divorces, you could end up with your child’s ex on the deed. A living trust may be a better way to help your property avoid probate.