Seniors Today Newspaper
Feel Free To Share!

Don’t Add A Name To Your Home Title

We frequently are asked to prepare deeds from clients to their children or others in order to avoid probate. Often, there are more disadvantages than advantages to doing so. However, probate is the best procedure for handling many estates.

Following are several considerations that should be taken into account before conveying an interest in your property to anybody.

If there is any chance the owner might need nursing home care in the near future, adding a name to the title may disqualify the owner for a period of time. Although one’s home is an exempt asset, transferring an interest negates the exemption.

The tax basis of the property may be an issue. The tax basis is what was paid for the property. To calculate gain on a sale, subtract the basis from the sale price. If one transfers an interest in property while alive, the grantee receives the grantor’s tax basis in the property. On the other hand, if beneficiaries obtain title at death, the tax basis is stepped up to date of death value.

Adding a name to title is irrevocable. To remove the name, or to sell or mortgage the property, the signature of the person who has been added to title is required. Sometimes the person who has been added to title is not able or willing to sign a deed when requested.

A creditor of the other grantee could attach to the property. This could happen if the grantee experiences a financial crisis, accident, or hospitalization not fully covered by insurance. The grantor’s homestead protection would not apply to the other owner unless it was his or her homestead too.

If the person whose name has been added to title dies, title may pass to a person other than the original owner.

These are some of the reasons that we discourage adding a name to title. It is often better to handle the transfer of the home through the probate process. There are types of deeds and other choices that do not have all the problems, stated above, but no choice is foolproof.

Attorney Michael A. Pyle, of Pyle, Dellinger & Duz, PLLC. 1655 North Clyde Morris Blvd., Ste. 1, Daytona Beach. Phone: 386.615.9007. e-mail: or website: