Asked in Estate Planning for North Carolina

Q: Can this property be passed on to one adult child without complications?

My husband and i purchased a home together recently right before we were married. We have a mortgage on this home. Because I paid the down payment on the home, it is listed on the deed as me owning 60 % and husband owning 40%. I have 3 adult children and he has 2. All of theses adult children are absent from our lives except one son of mine. Because he is the only one who looks out for both of us, we would like him to have the house after we have passed. He is the only one who is financially secure enough to take over the mortgage should there still be one at that time. We are over 65 we now and would like to secure it now by putting a will or trust in place that can not be changed or challenged. How can this be done?

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2 Lawyer Answers
Kenneth V Zichi
Kenneth V Zichi
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Howell, MI

A: ANY document can be challenged, and most (save an irrevocable trust) can be changed.

The actual planning, particularly when there is a mortgage, can be tricky. I would strongly urge you to consult with a local estate planning / real estate attorney to insure you do things in such a way to minimize the risk of a challenge and simplify the procedure into the future.

Please DO NOT fall for the 'just get a quit claim deed' school of one-trick ponies -- that is likely the single worst way to handle things, and can result in your mortgage being 'called' putting you into a real pickle. The fact that you are unequal co-owners implies you're in a situation where you are 'tenants in common' rather than 'tenants by the entireties' or joint tenants with rights of survivorship, and that concerns me as I find most people don't understand the differences in those types of ownership.

Please seek out local representation to insure your planning does what you want. There are likely multiple ways to get there, but there are also multiple ways that seem 'simple' that will make things more difficult for you and your heirs.

-- This answer is offered for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney/client relationship.

I am licensed to practice in Michigan only. Please seek competent local legal help if you feel you need legal advice

Charles Evan Lohr
Charles Evan Lohr
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Raleigh, NC
  • Licensed in North Carolina

A: I’m glad to provide a brief free consultation to discuss your options. Your goals shouldn’t be difficult to accomplish with an attorney’s help.

Best regards,

Evan Lohr

(919) 348-9211

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