Do Not Avoid Probate by Gifting House to Children

Oct 13, 2017 | Estate Plan, Probate, Trusts, Will

Avoiding probate is a good idea, but not at the cost of losing your home.

There are better ways to avoid probate than giving your house to your children, according to The New York Times in “Leaving a Home to Heirs While You’re Still Alive.”

One method people have used to avoid probate is to give a home to a child, while the parents are still alive. This is an especially bad idea, if the parents are still living in the home.

All that needs to be done is to transfer the deed to the property and it belongs to the child. It does not have to go through probate after the parents pass away.

This is a terrible idea, however, because the home is now subject to the whims of the child, any creditors the child might have and perhaps even a disgruntled spouse.

Should the parents and child have a falling out, then the child can evict the parents. It happens. Should the child face debts that cannot be paid, creditors could force a sale of the home.

The best thing that can be done is to schedule an appointment with an estate planning attorney. These are the experts who know about the probate process and how to avoid it, when necessary.

It might turn out that the probate process is not that bad in your state and that you have no reason to fear having your home go through it.

In those cases, a will would be a good option.

However, for some other people and in some other states, it might be desirable to avoid probate completely.

An estate planning attorney can advise you on creating an estate plan that fits your unique circumstances.