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Considering Adding Your Child to Your Home’s Deed? Think Again.

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April 17, 2024

Insights from a Leading Estate Planning Attorney in Anaheim Hills

You might be knee-deep in the hustle and bustle of life or perhaps enjoying the slower pace of retirement when you start pondering your estate plan. Maybe you’re thinking, “Why not just add my kid to the deed of my house to keep things simple?” It seems straightforward enough—ensuring your home passes directly to them without getting tangled up in probate court. But, as many parents find out, this gesture, though well-meaning, is riddled with complexities and potential headaches.

What It Really Means to Add Your Child to Your Home’s Deed

Let’s break it down: adding your child to the deed means you’re giving them part ownership of your home right now, not just after you’re gone. It sounds like a neat trick to skip over probate, but it’s not that simple. You’re also handing over a slice of control over your property. 

  1. The Twist of Co-Ownership: By adding your child to your deed, you’re essentially inviting them into a co-ownership situation. Suddenly, decisions about the house aren’t just yours to make. Want to refinance or sell? You’ll need their nod too. And if your child runs into financial trouble, your home could be on the line for their debts. Not quite the straightforward solution it seemed, right?
  2. Gift Taxes: A Surprise Party No One Wanted: Here’s something that catches many off guard: the IRS might consider adding your child to your deed as a gift. If the home’s value exceeds the annual gift tax exclusion, you could be facing a tax event. And yes, this means paperwork and possibly a significant tax bill.
  3. Losing Control and Stirring the Family Pot: Aside from tax woes, there’s the loss of control over your own property. Co-owning means compromising, and if your child’s life gets legally or financially complicated, your home is suddenly a chess piece in their game. Plus, if you’ve got more than one kid, this move could brew some serious family drama, leading to disputes that no one wants.
  4. The Capital Gains Tax Catch: If avoiding probate was about saving money, consider the capital gains tax. If your child sells the house after inheriting it, they typically get a tax break called a “step-up in basis,” reducing the capital gains tax.

Finding a Smoother Path

At JV Law Offices APC, we understand the importance of navigating property inheritance with precision and care. Fortunately, alternative strategies exist that allow for the seamless transfer of your estate without the drawbacks associated with direct deed additions. Utilizing a living trust is a prime example of such an approach. It empowers you to maintain control over your property while guaranteeing that your home is transferred to your child without entanglement in probate proceedings or the intricacies of joint ownership.

Why Professional Advice is Key

With the stakes so high, getting solid legal advice isn’t just helpful; it’s essential. An estate planning attorney can guide you through the maze, helping you pick the best strategy to protect your property and your family’s peace of mind.

If the thought of adding your child to your home’s deed has crossed your mind, let’s chat. At JV Law Offices APC, we’re on your side, ready to tailor an estate plan that fits like a glove, without the complications. Reach out today, and let’s secure your legacy the smart way.

As one of the top Anaheim California Estate Planning Lawyer, we deeply understand the intimate significance of this process. It embodies your lifetime achievements and serves as a means to uphold your heritage. At JV Law Offices, we boast a tailored methodology towards estate planning. Our committed group works in close cooperation with you to grasp your aims and apprehensions, guaranteeing that your estate blueprint not only satisfies your present requirements but also reduces tax obligations and legal costs. We transcend the role of conventional legal counselors; we are unwavering allies in securing your heritage for the forthcoming generations.


This blog is our way of making sure you’re clued in and feeling good about this big life shift, with a helping hand from our team. Remember, we’re here to turn the legal jargon into something you can not only understand but use to empower your family. And, while we’re here to guide you through the legal landscape, remember this blog is for general information purposes and not a substitute for legal advice tailored to your unique situation.

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