Hi Avvo pros! Thanks for reading. A family member wants to add my name to his property's warranty deed so that in case something were to happen to him, I can have full control over and decision about the property (sell it, lease it, etc). Is this possible, if so, how?
If the goal is to simply give you power over the property in the event of the owner's incapacity or absence, I would recommend a power of attorney instead of adding you to do the deed. There are too many pitfalls with adding a third party to a deed just so that person has control the property.
This is not legal advice and it does not establish an attorney-client relationship.
Additional thoughts here that you should consider. Once you are on the deed the family member has made a gift to you equal to 50% of the market value of the property. To the extent this exceeds $14K then this is a reportable gift requiring the filing of a gift tax return (IRS form 709) by the family member. However, if anything goes wrong on the property (I assume it is a single family residence for our purposes) do you realize you--as owner--you are exposing your personal assets to any claims. Obviously not a good thing so make sure there is plenty of insurance on the property and if it was me I would put the house in an LLC just to be safe. Moreover, if it turned into a rental property at some point then you would have been advised to put it into an LLC at that point in time.
My answer is not intended to be giving legal advice and this topic can be a complex area where the advice of a... more
My answer is not intended to be giving legal advice and this topic can be a complex area where the advice of a licensed attorney in your State should be obtained.
You should consult an experienced real estate lawyer in your area for help. You can achieve your goal through creating a joint tenancy with the right of survivorship, a life estate or an enhanced life estate. Your lawyer can help you decide which type of ownership is best for your
Disclaimer: This answer is provided for informational purposes only, does not constitute legal advice, and does... more
Disclaimer: This answer is provided for informational purposes only, does not constitute legal advice, and does not create an attorney-client relationship. Actual legal advice can only be provided after completing a comprehensive consultation in which all of the relevant facts are discussed and reviewed.
As you can see by all of these answers, there are so many pitfalls in this type of "estate planning" --- liability, gift taxes, the fact that your family member is now dependent upon your approval for anything having to do with his property, losing your title insurance, default of loan if the property is mortgaged, and doc stamp taxes if the property is mortgaged --- just to name a few. There are other better structures available to accomplish the goals of your family member, and I implore you to consult with an estate planning or tax attorney. I've been involved in or know of so many worst case scenarios when folks up and do a "quit claim deed" from Office Depot.
In addition to the other issues mentioned, your family member may jeopardize his future eligibility for Medicaid benefits by making this gift/transfer to you. Please consult with an estate planning attorney with experience in real estate before doing anything.
I agree with my colleagues. The current owner can have a new deed drawn up adding your name with survivorship language. I would also caution you on the gift tax issue. With that being said, there may be better planning techniques that achieve the same goal. This forum is not appropriate for getting the specifics of you and the owner's situation. More details are necessary. I would get in touch with an estate planning attorney to make sure this is the best strategy for your particular situation.