Tempe, AZ asked in Estate Planning for Arizona

Q: How do I add a family member to my deed as joint tenancy w/right of survivorship. House is free and clear.

Related Topics:
2 Lawyer Answers
Ilene L McCauley
Ilene L McCauley
Answered
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Scottsdale, AZ
  • Licensed in Arizona

A: There are many ways to own property. Joint tenancy with rights of survivorship is the least efficient from an income tax perspective. You may also need to file a gift tax return if the value you are transferring is more than $15,000. Finally, if the family member ever has financial or legal problems, the property can be at risk.

I recommend that you contact a qualified estate planning attorney in your area to discuss your options. There are many other ways to achieve these results without risk to you.

Gregory Christopher Poulos agrees with this answer

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Crossville, TN
  • Licensed in Arizona

A: The direct answer to your question is a family member can be added as a joint tenant with right of survivorship using a deed. You should hire an attorney to draw up the deed correctly.

HOWEVER, I agree with my colleague Ms. McCauley that you discuss the wisdom of doing this with an attorney. If your purpose in doing this is to achieve some semblence of estate planning, you should know that there are much better ways to accomplish your goal. The technique you have chosen, apparently without legal advice, is fraught with peril. Here are some of the risks (this is only a partial list):

1. Exposing your real property to claims of the added family member's creditor's.

2. Exposing your real property to being awarded to the added family member's ex-spouse.

3. The added family member's signature will be required from then on in order to sell the property. The added family member then may expect to receive a hefty percentage of the sale proceeds. (Yes, I have seen this happen. Very ugly.)

4. The added family member's signature will be required from then on in order to refinance the property.

5. The gift could create a hefty penalty period for you if you apply for government benefits in the future, such as for long-term care coverage.

Like I said, this is only a partial list of risks. Please don't do this without consulting with an attorney. The type of attorney you should consult is an estate planning attorney if that is your true purpose or a real estate attorney if you are actually doing a bona fide sale of a percentage interest for fair market value consideration.

Gregory Christopher Poulos agrees with this answer

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.