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Ask An Attorney: Probate

I want to add my kids to the title of my home to avoid probate.  Is there a problem with that?

Not necessarily, and many people of advanced age are interested in doing that.  People figure, they know that they want their kids to have their property when they die, why not just add them to title now?  Doing so can avoid probate, can avoid certain creditors upon your death, and can allow a smooth transition to your intended heirs.  However, there are also some serious potential pitfalls.  Depending on how you add your children to title, there can be consequences that affect all manner of taxes, from real estate taxes, to capital gains taxes, to estate and gift taxes.  Your childrens’ credit (and creditors) could be brought into play if you need to refinance or if they have debt that could be satisfied from your home.  Further, if you change your mind, you may not be able to remove your kids without their consent.

Whether it is a good idea or not depends on your individual circumstances.  Before you make this type of decision, it is advisable to consult with an attorney that can walk you through all those circumstances and discuss the various options you have to add your children to title.