Once upon a time, attorneys advised clients to deed homes to themselves and to their children as joint tenants. The idea was to avoid probate. Often, the average person has little more than a home and household items so this tactic seemed to make sense – a small estate affidavit took care of small items not contemplated by the client and the home was transferred to the children by simply filing an affidavit. Clients avoided probate and it was easy – right?

Wrong. Let’s say you deed your home to yourself and your son John in this way. Later, John is in a terrible accident. A young man dies and John is cited for speeding. The man’s family sues and John will likely owe over a million dollars. He is not covered by insurance because John was at fault. The result? You just lost your home. John’s creditors foreclose on your home to pay the debt because John is legally an owner of your home.

The problems don’t end here. What if John suffers a nasty divorce? John’s soon-to-be-ex-wife may have the right to one half of the value of “John’s” second home (i.e., your home) and/or she may have the right to lien your home. Capital gains taxes? They will need to be paid with available cash. Avoid this mess – there are simpler methods that may be as affordable as a few hundred dollars.

For more information, call Drew.


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