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How do I deed my house?

For many of us, our home is our most valuable asset. And whether we anticipate our heirs will sell it or live in it, we likely have at least a basic desire for what should happen to it upon our death. There are a couple of options before you when it comes to leaving your home to someone else. There are wills, and there are trusts, but what about simply putting the words in your home's deed? How do you go about that?

Either option allows you to avoid probate and saves the headaches that can come with creating a trust. If you and your spouse own your home together, you can include within the deed the "Joint Tenant with Right of Survivorship" to clearly lay out the intention that whether you or your spouse passes first, the home will go to the surviving spouse.

If you are not married, or your spouse has already passed, you could include or change your deed to say "Transfer on Death." You would also indicate who you would want the deed transferred to upon confirmation of your death. The benefit of a transfer such as this is that you still have the freedom to refinance or obtain an equity line of credit on the home, as it is still exclusively yours to do with as you please. With a Joint Tenant deed assignation, your spouse's debts could hinder your home ownership, and you have to answer to whoever the co-owner is.

When it comes to bequeathing your most valuable assets, it makes sense to consult an attorney who works in the areas of elder care and estate law. Together you can review your options fully and determine what might be the best for you specifically, based upon your unique set of circumstances.

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