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Is adding someone to a property deed a good estate planning move?

When it comes to planning one's estate, people will do quite a few things and jump through a lot of hoops in order to avoid the need for probate. One thing that some individuals will do, whether they reside in Texas or elsewhere, is add loved ones to their property deeds -- such as the deed to a house. This makes them co-owners and prevents the properties from being subject to the probate process. While this can work, is it the best estate planning move?

The answer to this question will be different for everyone. At the end of the day, there are a lot of negatives that accompany adding someone to a property deed. For the original owner, the negative consequences include Medicaid eligibility delays, title complications, tax issues and potential property liens if the now co-owner goes through divorce or has other financial struggles.

For the individuals added to property deeds, the biggest drawback is the taxes. Not everyone will want to keep a loved one's real estate after he or she passes. By being a joint owner, after selling the property, one will have to pay what is called a capital gains tax. This can be quite substantial.

Adding someone to a property deed can help avoid probate, but is it worth it? That is something one will have to decide for him or herself. Texas residents who need help in making such a decision can turn to an estate planning attorney who will be able to provide more detailed information about this topic and give guidance as to how taking such a step will directly affect one's situation.

Source: thebalance.com, "Avoiding Probate by Adding Your Child's Name on the Deed of the House", Julie Garber, Accessed on April 5, 2017

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