5 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Add Someone to Your House Deed

St. Ambrose Legal Services has received an influx of calls from city residents who have been advised to add a relative’s name to their house deed. The common misconception is that adding someone to the deed will protect your home for your heirs. Below are five reasons why adding a loved one to your deed is not a smart way to protect your investment.

  1. Loss of control– Adding anyone’s name to your deed makes the other person a co-owner of the property. If you decide to sell the property and the co-owner does not agree, then you cannot sell.
  2. Inheritance by others– If your new co-owner dies before you do, then that person’s interest could pass on to someone else.  You could end up owning the house with one or more people.
  3. Exposure to creditors– Your house is exposed to the debts or your co-owner. Likewise, if the co-owner has tax issues or they are sued and lose, a lien could be placed on your property. A lien on your house could force it to be sold.
  4. Taxable gift – Putting someone’s name on your deed is legally a gift that could require a federal gift tax return.
  5. Medicaid Penalty– If you give someone an interest in your home, it could trigger ineligibility for Medicaid benefits in the event you need nursing home care.

Adding a name to your home is risky.  The safer alternative is to draft a Will that leaves your property to the person of your choice. Seniors in Baltimore City can get a free Will through the Bar Association of Baltimore City: 410-396-5277.


Author: Carla Hinson

Housing, Baltimore, and also Brazil.

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