Often, an aging parent will wish to sign their house over to their adult child to ensure the smooth passage of this asset upon the parent’s death. One of the most common ways to transfer a property title between family members is by using a quitclaim deed, often incorrectly referred to as a “quick claim” deed or to “quick deed” a property. Be aware, a quitclaim deed does not automatically transfer any existing mortgage obligations.
Simply put, a deed is the legal document used to officially transfer ownership of real property. A deed indicates the names and addresses of current title holders, a legal description of the property (house address with city and county, lot number, property taxes) and notarized signatures of the deed holders. A quitclaim deed is necessary to transfer any ownership interest you have in a property to another person, and it is often used in divorce settlements for ownership transfer of the marital home from one spouse to the other.
A parent can sign her house over to her adult child with a quitclaim deed. As the parent transferring ownership interest in the property, you are known as the grantor. The adult child receiving ownership interest is the grantee. Once the quitclaim deed has been recorded at the county recorder’s office, it becomes fully effective and you lose all ownership interests in the property. The only way to reverse the procedure is for the grantee to quitclaim deed the real estate back to you. A quitclaim deed offers no warranties to the grantee by the grantor, to guarantee there are no other individuals with a partial ownership interest in the property, and all grantors must sign the quitclaim deed for the grantee to have clear title to the property.
Revocable Living Trust
As a parent, you can also transfer ownership of your property to an adult child by placing the real estate into a revocable living trust, which holds the assets for the beneficiary. If you set up a living trust, you become the grantor and usually the trustee of the trust as well, which allows you to transfer ownership interest in your property into the trust. You can name your adult child as the beneficiary of any assets in your trust, to be transferred after you are deceased. A revocable living trust means it can be revoked or changed at any time.
A type of warranty deed known as a survivorship deed can be used to create joint tenancy of a property and survivorship benefits for the designated grantees. A joint tenancy typically provides an undivided ownership interest for all tenants, in the whole of the property. Upon your death, your ownership interest in the property can be passed to your surviving adult child through execution of the survivorship deed. Transfer is usually evidenced with an affidavit that gets filed with the county recorder’s office.
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