The shortest chapter could also be the most important under certain conditions. If you are single and un-partnered you need not read this chapter. As long as you are married, together, and healthy it does not much matter how you take title to the property. However, IF ANY OF THAT CHANGES it matters a great deal! From Escrow get a How to Take Title Chart and read it carefully.
By law in most states only an attorney can advise you on how to take title. A title officer cannot, your lender cannot, Escrow cannot, your Realtor cannot, and certainly I cannot. But this is important. If you cannot afford an attorney at the very least ask your parents, family and friends who already own, how they took title. The older the person, the better, especially if they have a title story that is pertinent to the decision.
Story – Doris and Robert had been married 19 years when they bought the home in Lawrence, Kansas in 1965. It cost them $18,000. Robert passed away in 1991. The house at that time was valued at $164,000. Because they had taken title as Joint Tenants with Right of Survivorship, Doris” inherited” from Robert his half of the home. This meant that in August of 1991 Doris owned her $82,000 half of the home and now Robert’s half of $82,000. She moved to Arizona the next year turning the house into a rental. In 1994 Doris decided to sell the home at the same price it appraised for in 1991. Doris had to pay capital gains tax on her half of the improved value which totaled $73,000 ($82,000 minus $9,000, the cost of her original half) but did not have to pay any capital gains on Robert’s half. Her half taxes came to $20,000 but if she had had to pay his half it would have been $40,000. A huge difference, just because of the way they took title to the home in 1965.
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