Leaving Your Home to Your Children

If you want your children to own your home upon your death, there are several ways to accomplish this – including something called a “Lady Bird Deed.” For example, you (or you and your spouse) can:

  • Make a Will. In the will, you can specify that you’re leaving your home to your children. Your will must later be probated for the transfer to occur.
  • Create a Trust. You can deed your home to a living trust. The trust can say that when you (or you and your spouse) have died, the successor trust must transfer the home to your children. No probate will be required.
  • Set Up a Joint Tenancy. You can deed the home to yourself and your children as joint tenants, with full rights of survivorship. Your children will automatically own the home upon your death. No probate will be required – but if you want to sell the home during your lifetime, you’ll need your children’s signatures.
  • Sign a Lady Bird Deed. The name is attributed to a technique that President Lyndon Johnson used in his estate planning. Basically, you (or you and your spouse) can deed your home to yourself or yourselves. You can name your children as beneficiaries in case you own the home at the time you die. No probate will be required, and you’ll be free the sell the home without the children signing off. The downside is a possible increase in property taxes for your children if and when they become the owners.

Each of these estate planning techniques has its pros and cons. The attorneys at the Ann Arbor law firm of Hamilton, London, & Davis can help you determine which method will work best for you.