How can I put my daughter on the title to my home?

A fellow caregiver asked...

How can I put my daughter on the title to my home?

Expert Answer

Liza Hanks is the founder and owner of FamilyWorks Estate Planning, a law firm with offices in Campbell and Los Altos, California, and the author of The Busy Family's Guide to Estate Planning (Nolo, 2007).

You can record a grant deed naming her as a joint tenant. In that case, she would inherit the whole house upon your death without a probate proceeding. Or you could name her as a tenant in common, which would mean that each of you would have the right to leave your share of the house to whomever you choose at death.

Taking either of these paths, though, means that you will have made a taxable gift to your daughter of the value of the portion of the house you've given to her and that your share of the house would be at risk to her creditors if she got into credit trouble or to those she harmed if she hurt someone, for example, in a car accident.

Also, the 1/2 of the house that you've given her will be valued at the your original tax basis, which means if she later sells the house, she will have to pay capital gains taxes on any increase in value on that share of the house from the day you bought it to the day she sold it.

In contrast, property transferred only upon your death has a tax basis equal to the fair market value of the property at death.

So for all of these reasons, you might reconsider gifting her with the property now.

If you'd like her to manage it for her, you might consider transferring the property to a living trust and making her the trustee of that trust. In that arrangement, she could manage the property for you, but you wouldn't be at risk to her creditors or those she harmed, and she'd get a better tax basis in the property at your death.