The Risks of Poor Man's Estate Planning


They call it the “poor man’s estate planning.” Put your child on the title to your deed and avoid probate. Yet this “poor man’s” planning often ends up, well, poorly; and costing a lot more for the people you love. Here’s why and what you can do about it:


Risk #1 of Poor Man’s Estate Planning:


If the deed is titled with the name of parent and child (or any time there is more than one name on title and the parties are not married to each other) ownership of the property could be categorized as tenants in common – meaning that if one property owner dies, his or her interest in the property goes to an heir via probate, not directly to the other owner(s). That’s exactly what the poor man’s estate planning was trying to avoid.


Solution: To accomplish the desired objective, the deed would have to stipulate ownership as joint tenants with the right of survivorship or similar language. Even then, passing property outside of probate using a deed may create problems because if both joint tenants die or become incapacitated at the same time (such as in an accident) the property is headed right into probate.


Risk #2 of Poor Man’s Estate Planning:


If the child you put on title to the property is sued or has some other type of creditor issue, even divorce, the property could be at risk.


Risk #3 of Poor Man’s Estate Planning:


Gifting property to your children, which is what happens when you put a child’s name on title to your property, could create adverse tax consequences. One of the benefits of death (probably the only one) is that your heirs take your property at a new basis equal to fair market value. This may not happen if it’s determined that adding your child to the title was a gift of the property. In this case, your kids inherit your tax basis and lose valuable tax savings.


If you would like to learn more about strategies for protecting your assets and avoiding probate, contact our office today to schedule a time for us to sit down and talk.


This article is a service of the Law Office of Keoni Souza, LLC, an estate planning law firm in Honolulu, Hawaii. We don’t just draft documents; we ensure you make informed and empowered decisions about life and death, for yourself and the people you love. That's why we offer a Family Wealth Planning Session, ™ during which you will get more financially organized than you’ve ever been before, and make all the best choices for the people you love. You can begin by contacting our office today to schedule a Family Wealth Planning Session and mention this article to find out how to get this $750 session at no charge.


DISCLAIMER: All information available at this website are for informational purposes only and is not legal advice. You should contact an attorney directly regarding your specific situation. Use of and access to this website or any of the email links contained within the site do not create an attorney-client relationship between the Law Office of Keoni Souza, LLC and any users or any other party.

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All information available on this website is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice. You should contact an attorney directly regarding your specific situation. The use of and access to this website or the transmission of information via email or through this website does not create an attorney-client relationship between the Law Office of Keoni Souza, LLC and any users or any other party. Transmission of information via email or through this website may not be secure, therefore confidentiality cannot be assumed.  By using this website or transmitting information via email or this website, the user agrees to this information being collected, stored, or transmitted to a third-party.

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