It is likely that one of the most expensive assets you own is your primary living residence. Much of estate planning focuses on dealing with property and passing it down in a way that minimizes time in probate and taxes the heirs pay on it.
To this end, some Americans attempt clever gambits to circumnavigate the law. One such gambit involves putting the name of an adult child on the deed prior to your death. It is true that this does help your property avoid probate, but this strategy almost never is worth the headaches it can cause.
How does this work?
If you put the name of an adult child on the deed to your home, you and your child then own that property in joint tenancy. With joint tenancy, if one owner of the property dies the surviving owner automatically inherits. There is no need for the property to go through probate with joint tenancy.
Why is this not a good idea?
The moment that you put your adult child’s name on the deed to your house they become an equal owner. This means that if you want to do anything like sell the property or refinance, you will need the explicit legal permission of your adult child.
Additionally, if you put your adult child’s name on the deed to your home, it is possible that bad things could happen to the property. For example, if your child is behind on taxes to the IRS and your child’s name is on the deed to your home, this means that the IRS could put a lien against your property.