This estate planning issue concerns a single retired parent of an only adult daughter and how to transfer the home to the daughter. Should the daughter simply sell the house when her mother dies, or should the daughter be added to the deed now while her mother is alive?
Also, is there a court hearing?
In many states, there is no reason or requirement to go before a judge to probate your estate, says nj.com in its recent article “Should I add my daughter’s name to my home’s deed?”
In estate planning, there are two primary questions to answer about the transfer of the home. First, there would possibly be some significant capital gains if the mom adds her daughter to the deed prior to death.
Also, if the mother winds up requiring Medicaid, Medicaid might put a lien against the home after she dies for the value of the services it provided.
Generally, when a home has been owned for a long time, the mother should try to preserve the step-up in basis for tax purposes that happens, if the real estate is still in the mom’s name at her passing.
Whether that step up is preserved, depends on how the daughter is added to the deed.
Adding the daughter as a joint tenant or tenant in common won’t preserve the step-up basis for taxes. Ask an elder law attorney what this means in your specific situation.
A better option may be to transfer the remainder interest in the property to the daughter in this scenario and withhold a life estate for the mom.
That will preserve the step-up in basis at death.
This can also get complicated when there’s an outstanding mortgage, so speak to an experienced elder law or estate planning attorney.
One of the main goals of our law practice is to help families like your plan for safe, problem free, and successful transfer of assets to the next generation. Call our office today to schedule a time for us to review your estate plan and identify the best strategies for you and your family to ensure your legacy of love and financial security. Our office is located in Santa Ana, CA but we serve all of California including Irvine, Orange, Tustin, Newport Beach, and Anaheim.
Reference: nj.com (Dec. 15, 2020) “Should I add my daughter’s name to my home’s deed?”