Owner Beware – Adding Loved Ones to Property Title

Say you’re dating the love of your life, and one day, he/she insists on being added to the title of your real property. Or perhaps, you must add him to the title because you want to take out a loan secured by the property but need to use your loved one’s credit profile. There are a few ways to approach this situation to ensure that you’re both protected. hands-heart-house

Suggested approach in order of preference:

  1. Just say no (if you’re using their credit this may not be an option.)
  2. Agree, on condition that your loved one also takes responsibility for any existing and future loans.
  3. Agree, but be clear on what percentage interest will belong to each of you.
  4. A combination of No. 3 and No. 4.

The same wisdom goes for family members who ask to be added to the title of your property. Sometimes, loved ones will ask to be added on the promise that they will handle utility payments, insurance premiums, groceries etc.  Don’t rely on this! Regardless of any promises to handle other bills, stick to the approaches listed above. Otherwise, the result will be that your loved one will forever have 50% interest in your property, and you won’t be able to enforce your side agreement for them to pay utilities, bills etc. Essentially, if your side agreement doesn’t make it into the deed document filed into the property record, the agreement is not enforceable as to the property.

If you do agree to add someone to your title, you MUST have a written document to reflect such agreement. The title document (deed) that you file into the property records must reflect the agreement in detail and without ambiguity. This will ensure that in the future, if there is ever a dispute as to that particular property, your intentions will be clearly indicated in written form.  If unsure how to draft such a deed, be sure to seek the help of an attorney so the language is properly crafted.

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