Passing title at death

The dad signed a deed giving property to the child, left it in his desk assuming child would find it after death.

Deed was

  1. Never delivered
  2. Never accepted
  3. Never recorded (aka perfected) although not a requirement but a good idea
  4. and is now subject to probate without a will to pass the property

Deeds undelivered until after death in Michigan do not survive death.

Lesson: See the lawyer now.

Leaving your house to the children

particularly the part:
“….Joint Tenancy:……Another problem with owning property in joint tenancy is that when you add a co-owner to
the property as a joint tenant, you lose many aspects of property control. Many parents think that by
adding their son’s or daughter’s name to the property that it is a way to pass the property on without
a probate and this is generally true, but …...bla bla……. You also
expose the property to your co-owner’s debts and obligations, so by adding your son’s or daughter’s
name to the property, you could potentially lose your home to your child’s creditors if he or she is
successfully sued. There could also be gift and/or income tax problems if your co-owner is not your
…….bla bla bla…..
Finally, property held in joint tenancy only receives a step up in the basis equal to one-half of
the property value at the death of the first joint tenant.

Paul’s notes:
Easiest tax wise, the spouse owns with spouse….property willed to child(ren). Child(ren) get full stepped up basis to reduce tax burden on them. Parents get ease of mind not having to worry about child being sued and attachment to parents property.

I’ve seen children added to deeds prior to passing of parent(s). Sometimes this is great, but I saw a real estate agent give advise she wasn’t at all qualified to give & it created an immense hardship ($15ooo tax bill) that could have been avoided with a 5 minute call to myself.
This should involve legal AND taxation planning – if not insurable risk as well – consultation.