We often have a parent who wants to title the family residence in the names of the parent and child as joint tenants with rights of survivorship. The parent figures this is an inexpensive way to pass the home to the next generation without having a probate proceeding.
But is this a good idea? In most situations, the answer is no, and here are two quick reasons why. If the parent later wants to downsize and sell the house and the child refuses to sign the deed, parent is in a difficult position with no easy remedy. Or what if the child is involved in a lawsuit and a judgment is taken against him? The creditor could try to reach the child’s interest in the parent’s residence. Neither is a good situation for the parent.
Is there a different way to handle this? Fortunately, yes. A.R.S. § 33-405 provides for a beneficiary deed pursuant to which parent conveys title of the residence to child after parent’s death. Parent keeps the residence out of probate, but the child does not have any interest in the property until parent’s death. And parent is free to sell the property or change the deed at any time without interference from child.
The same result is achieved without the negatives of using a joint tenancy deed.
Michael W. Margrave