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My parent is transferring a real property to me as gift. Should we do this ourself or do we need a lawyer for this?

Bellingham, WA |

The house is not primary residence.
All three of us live in differently place. Can we sign and notarize the form separately? Should we all sign one form or sign one form each?

Do we need a real estate or estate planning attorney?

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Attorney answers 5


I was just in your beautiful area on vacation and I am envious of you living in such a beautiful location. This is definitely something that is worth sitting down with a real property attorney for a half hour or an hour to make sure that it is done properly. Does the parent want to convey it to you as joint tenants with rights of survivorship or tenants in common is a key question that must be explored?

The information provided in this answer does not create an attorney-client relationship. If you are interested in his legal services, feel free to call Chris at (303) 409-7635 at his law office in the Denver Tech Center. All initial consultations are free of charge.


Your parent should discuss this with an estate planning attorney to ensure this is the best way to deal with the transfer for estate planning and tax purposes. Is it necessary to do this now? Gifts only get carried over basis and depending on where the property is and the value of the property there may be a reassessment of property taxes and a Federal Gift Tax Return (Form 706) may need to be filed.

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I would advise involving a lawyer. There can be tax consequences in such a transaction, as well as issues of Medicaid eligibility if it should become necessary for your parents that a lawyer could help you with.

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I agree with the other attorneys who have answered. The transfer of real property is a significant transaction that warrants a conversation with a knowledgeable attorney to review and discuss some of the potential ramifications and the different options. An attorney with experience in real estate and estate planning could discuss with you the different options and potential gift tax consequences (depending on the value of the gifted property and the overall value of your parents' estate).

The mechanics of signing and documenting the transaction can be discussed after the best approach is determined. However, usually parties to a real estate transaction can sign and notarize their signatures separately if they cannot be present at the same place to sign on the same document.

The above response is commentary regarding a general legal question. It is not intended to be legal advice specific to the reader's individual situation nor does it create an attorney-client relationship between the author and any reader. You are encouraged to contact a qualified and knowledgeable attorney to discuss your specific legal situation.


I would also caution doing a transfer of property without first consulting an estate planner or real estate attorney. Not only can your parent be disqualified from Medicaid and have potential gifting issues as previously pointed out, but you also will take the property at your parent's tax basis. There can be better ways to transfer property to accomplish your goals, but gaining the wisdom of an attorney BEFORE taking action is imperative; the consequences can cost much more than doing it right the first time.