What the person is really asking is should I make someone else a joint owner of my property.
Here's my short answer: NO
Frequently people believe that adding names to deeds will more efficiently pass assets to their heirs without the need for probate. It may well accomplish this one task.
However, and this is a big "however," simply avoiding probate does not avoid these issues:
1. Potential inheritance taxes in Pennsylvania, or federal estate tax if the estate is sufficiently large, still must be paid on jointly owned property.
2. Joint owners now have title to these assets, which means that they unintentionally can be exposed to creditors to sell for debts and be liable for court judgments and bankruptcy court.
3. Creating joint ownership diminishes the estate value of the original owner and may cause a problem with state medical assistance should nursing home care be needed in the future.
4. Joint owners may encounter federal income tax (capital gains tax) ramifications if the property is sold, which may be avoided if the property passes through the probate system.
These, and other considerations, illustrate why a consultation with an estate planning attorney at Amori & Associates is necessary to create a comprehensive plan for your estate and your loved ones.
Call us today for a consultation at (570) 421-1406.