I just got married and want to add my spouse to the ownership of the home.
Congratulations! Yes, this is a question I get a lot. When we get married, some of us see this as a “we’re in it together” all or nothing, as it should be. Putting your spouse on the title (adding them to the ownership) is a simple process but not a simple question or decision. The mechanics of putting them on the title is to have a grant deed prepared, sign it in front of a notary public and then have it recorded. The cost should be under $100.
However, when dealing with your assets, there are five things to consider before adding your spouse to the ownership of your home.
- Assets before marriage are your own
- Some might say to wait a while before adding a spouse to see how the relationship goes. The reason is that the assets that you have before marriage are your separate property. So, in case the relationship goes south, this would still be yours. Learn more about Home Loans in Torrance California here.
- Nevertheless, if you put your spouse on the title as an owner, it’s also theirs, and you share 50/50; this could be a significant loss if something goes wrong between the two of you.
- Buying another property
- If you want to buy another property, it may help that your spouse does not have this property in their name for the purpose of qualifying and first-time buyer status. Get more information at Athena Paquette Mortgage Consulting.
- So if you are planning on buying property together, have a lender qualify you now to see if putting your spouse on your property affects the qualification. Contact Mortgage loans California for more information.
- Is it a 2nd marriage with children who might object?
- If you have children from a prior marriage and you intended to give them the property after your passing, you will now have made that trickier as they may be co-owners with your new spouse or not owners at all depending on how you choose to “hold the title.” (see the chart of title ownership definitions).
- Does your new spouse have children that could have a claim if something should happen to you?
- The other way is also true. If your new spouse has children from a previous marriage, then how you hold the title could affect whether you become co-owners with them in the event your spouse predeceases you.
- Does your new spouse have creditors that could attach a lien to this new valuable asset?
- This is the biggest question. Sometimes the person we love has credit we don’t necessarily love. If they have judgments or liens that are unpaid, those creditors can now attach your property to force you to pay and will become inflexible in negotiating because they have significant collateral that they know you do not want to lose.
- So, I would say this one is a deal killer till the credit is first cleaned up. Then you could consider adding your spouse to the title.
If you are simply trying to ensure that your spouse gets to stay in the house in the event of your death, Contact me for more information. there are other ways to do so. For example, you could state your wish in your will or trust. Please contact an attorney for advice on this particular situation.
These are not all the issues that could be roadblocks to this being a right decision, but definitely, things to consider before you convert your asset into a marital asset.