Should We Add My Stepson to Our Deed?
My husband and I are both listed on our condo. My husband recently had a cancer scare and would like to put his son on our deed. He says in case something happens to one or both of us, we are protected. I do not see the sense in this if he is listed in my husband’s will. By the way, I do not have a will.
It sounds like your husband’s son is not also your son. Adding him to the deed could solve some problems and create others. One problem with your current arrangement is that if your husband were to die before you, the condominium would then be entirely yours. If you were to die without a will, it would pass to your closest blood relatives rather than to your stepson. And, even if you had a will giving the property to your stepson, you could change your mind down the road and disinherit him. This may well be contrary to your husband’s wishes. Adding your stepson as a joint owner could prevent your disinheriting him.
But it could cause other problems. First, the condominium could be subject to claim if your stepson ran into financial difficulties or got divorced. Second, you might end up as joint owner with him which could present problems if you and he did not see eye-to-eye. For instance, you might want to sell the condominium and move somewhere else, in which case he either might object or demand that he receive his share of the proceeds, making the move unaffordable for you.
A trust could protect all of you, providing that the condominium will be for the use of your husband and yourself during your lives and that it will pass to your stepson when the second of you has passed away. It would give you flexibility as well. If you sold the condominium, the proceeds would remain in trust and could be used to buy a new place for you to live or pay your rent if you didn’t want to buy.