“Should I add my adult children on title to my home?” is a question that estate planning lawyers often hear.
While it usually, but not always, makes sense for spouses to own their real property together as joint tenants with the right of survivorship, the question is much more complicated when it comes to parents and their adult children.
Property owned in joint tenancy transfers directly to the surviving joint tenant(s) when an owner passes away, without the need to first obtain a grant of probate over the deceased’s estate or pay probate fees on the value of the deceased’s interest in the property.
As convenient as that may sound, it is important to consider the implications of owning property jointly with adult children during one’s lifetime. Once the property is also in the child’s name, there is the potential for current or future creditors of that child to register a judgment on title to the property. This will affect you directly as the owner.
Likewise, there is also a risk that a current or future spouse of the child could bring a family law claim against the child’s interest in the property. Furthermore, the original owner will no longer be able to sell or mortgage the property without the co-operation of their children, which could be a problem if in the future those children are unable or unwilling to do so.
For many, the small savings in probate fees their estate may enjoy on their death simply does not outweigh the risks associated with owning property jointly with their children during their lifetime. Instead, we recommend making an appointment to speak to an estate planning lawyer to help you craft an individual estate plan that works for you and your family.