Author Topic: Parents want to add me to their house title - what should we be aware of?  (Read 5109 times)

hred17

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Hello! Hoping for some advice/information... please point me to an existing thread on this subject if one already exists.

I am an only child and will inherit whatever my parents have left of their 'nest-egg' when they pass on (which I hope and pray is a very, very long time from now!). I am already listed in their will(s) as executor and they have me listed as the 'payable/transferable' beneficiary on death for the majority (if not all) of their financial accounts.

They are now thinking of adding me to the deed (?)/title of their house which I will inherit assuming they don't move again (which they don't plan to) and that the house does not need to be sold down the road in the event that those funds would need to pay for their longer-term care.

Is this advisable? What are the benefits of them doing this now? I do not own my own home (I choose to rent as I move a lot for work) so I'm not sure what financial implications this could have on me - i.e.: tax implications, etc.

How does this work and what are the benefits/negatives if my parents do add my name to the title of their house?

Kris

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I'm an only child, and my mother put me as a co-holder on all her accounts (bank, etc.) before she died.  It prevented all of that stuff going through probate, and also helped because she got terminal cancer and in the last couple of months, it was very helpful to have access to her checkbook, e.g. to pay her utility bills and stuff like that.

The one thing she didn't manage to get me on was the home, so that did have to go through probate.  It wasn't a huge deal, but it would definitely have been easier without that. 

In terms of any liability, that depends on how much you trust your parents! :)  If the home is paid off, they are responsible with money, pay their taxes on time, etc., then there's no problem for you. 

Frankies Girl

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Don't do this. Adding you to the title of the property means you lose the stepped up cost basis you'd receive if you inherited the house. This can be a huge deal if they paid significantly less than the house is valued/sold for when they pass on, and could mean you are stuck with quite a tax bill when you try to sell the house yourself.

It also complicates them selling the house down the road for covering things like medical or long term care.

And it also could complicate your taxes right now.

As long as they leave their property to you in their will, there is no good reason to do try to add you to the deed. Probate is not a bad thing! If they have a significant estate (multi-millions), then they should be discussing with an estate lawyer, but trying to avoid probate in this case (property) is going to be a less than stellar move.

In the case of actual accounts (IRA, 401k, taxable accounts, bank accounts), there are beneficiary setups and "transfer on death" designations that they can and should take care of now that will supersede any will - meaning they'll pass directly to you outside of probate. But property like a house... no, don't do it.

« Last Edit: June 10, 2015, 10:08:42 AM by Frankies Girl »


hred17

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Thanks for the quick responses!

I have skimmed over other posts before related to this and knew there were potentially some downsides to doing this so I very much appreciate the feedback and links.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2015, 10:19:05 AM by hred17 »

bobechs

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"Putting you on the title" is a vague and unfocused phrase.  The other posters appear to be equally wooly in their approach, since they are assuming they can imagine exactly what you mean by that.

What you may want to investigate is a deed upon death.  It is a method for avoiding probate which does not create the problems of present co-ownership.

If your state allows it you should look into it- but don't do it until you are sure it suits your needs.