As a parent, you may want to ensure that a hard-earned asset such as your home ends up in your children’s hands once you pass away. Unless you make that clear during the estate planning process, it’s not guaranteed that this will occur. There are three steps you can take to ensure that your property transfers seamlessly to your heirs when you pass away.

The living trust option

If you wish to continue having the same rights over your home as you historically have until your death, then you’ll want to transfer it into a living trust. By doing so, your child will be able to acquire it without it having to pass through the time-consuming and expensive probate process.

Parents with more than one child will want to write in the instructions to the trustee which one gets the home and who gets other equally-valuable assets.

Adding your house to your will

Another option is to will your property over to them. If you do, then it will need to pass through the probate process, which involves the paying off of your debts, before it ultimately becomes theirs.

Parents with more than one child may unintentionally create a family rift by leaving their home to all of their kids in the will, especially if they can’t agree to either keep or sell it. A judge may ultimately be called in to decide that for them. Willing your home over to one child and other valuable assets over to another may be the best option.

Using selective wording your deed

Certain phrases including “Joint Tenant with Right of Survivorship” or “Transfer on Death” can ensure that a property is seamlessly transferred to your kids while avoiding the probate process. The use of these phases can limit your ability to refinance or borrow against your home without your co-owning child’s consent though. They can also expose you to any debts they rack up and make you ineligible to receive Medicaid.

No matter which approach you use to transfer your home to your children after you die, each one carries their own individual pros and cons. A Trenton real estate transaction attorney can counsel you as to what option may best for you after learning more about your financial situation and the legacy you want to leave for your kids.