Transferring ownership of property from parent to child is a BAD IDEA
Transferring ownership of property from parent to child is a bad idea to avoid estate planning. It might look like an easy way out, but depending on the state in which you live, this might result in all your assets being part of the estate settlement process upon your death.
Carefully consider any change to title or deed that transfers real estate or other assets into joint ownership with another person before completion. Once you have made the transfer, it cannot be undone without both parties’ consent unless there was some concern regarding competency, coercion, fraud or undue influence. And completing such a change could trigger estate proceedings upon one party’s passing.
Consult an estate-planning attorney for assistance in developing documents that avoid probate. The estate-planning lawyer can also help you outline how property should be transferred to avoid estate taxes.
The probate process is expensive and time-consuming, so consider other estate planning options that are less likely to create difficulties for your loved ones.
Probate is a court-supervised legal method of distributing an estate to beneficiaries. While not everyone has assets that will be subject to estate taxes, avoiding probate is still worth considering.
If you own property as a single person or jointly with someone else – such as a spouse – you can leave the property at your death by writing a simple will describing who gets what and how they should receive it.
If you have minor children, leaving assets to the child's guardian would be another estate planning option.
Probate is not a private matter. The probate records are public records for anyone to see and examine. If you don’t intend for this to happen – or if it makes you uncomfortable – avoid probate. Get an estate plan instead.
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