Everyone's story is unique. Maybe you purchased a home while you were single or maybe you are remarried and have a blended family and have wondered whether you should add your spouse's name to the deed of your home. What is the process? Why should it matter? What are the costs? Here, we'll lay out a few reasons to consider putting your spouse's name on the deed of your home and explain the basic process we use, as well as offering one reason why some people may decide against putting a spouse's name on their deed.
One good reason to add a spouse to the deed of your home is for estate planning purposes, which may allow the property to transfer to your spouse outside the probate process, depending on the transfer language utilized in the granting clause.
Another reason is for creditor purposes. If one spouse has a debt, a creditor will not be able to make a claim against any jointly owned assets.
Some concerns to address before putting one's spouse on a deed include whether your spouse has any judgments against them. In addition, be aware that mortgage companies and government programs / agencies may have rules about transferring ownership and require advance notice of such transfers, even if your spouse is not and will not be on the mortgage.
What kind of deed should be used to transfer title from you to you and your spouse? There are some people who suggest using a quitclaim deed to transfer title to your spouse. A quitclaim deed basically says that if I have any interest in a piece of property, it is being transferred. It does not provide any type of warranty as to title and is irrevocable.
We typically utilize a deed of gift to effectuate the addition of another person on the title. A deed of gift includes a general warranty of title.
The costs associated with either type of deed are minimal and may include a consult fee, pulling a copy of the existing deed, drafting a new deed, and the recording fees required by an online provider or by an individual land records office.
Why wouldn't you want to add your spouse to the deed of your house? In the event of divorce, the division of the assets using equitable distribution would not include the value of the property apart from its appreciation since the date of the marriage to the date of separation.
These potential consequences are only examples. Every case has its own unique facts and there are no guaranteed outcomes. If you or someone you know has questions about adding a spouse to a deed, call our office at 757-967-8782 to schedule a consultation.