How you hold title to your home can affect everything from the amount of real estate property taxes that you have to pay every year to how difficult it will be to refinance your property or take out a home equity loan.
It is common for people to hold title with their spouse or with a romantic partner that they mutually invest in a property with, despite not getting married. Unfortunately, when a relationship that involves cohabitation and the purchase of a house ends or when one person on the title dies, there can be complex consequences for the individual retaining the home. You may need to make corrections to the title, which may require going to court.
First, look at how you hold title now and how you want to hold title later
People can hold title in a variety of different ways. For example, a couple may hold title to a home as joint tenants with rights of survivorship, meaning that the title passes fully from one party to the other in the event of their death.
Other times, individuals may view their partial ownership in the home as an investment and want to pass their equity in the home on to other people, not the person that they live with. Your rights and how to adjust the title after your change in circumstances will depend on how you currently hold title.
Looking at the deed currently recorded on your property and how you hold title now can help you make better decisions about what changes you need to make and how you want to hold title in the future. In some cases, you may even choose to use the property to fund a trust in order to reduce your taxable assets in case you need Medicaid later on in life.
You may need to pursue quiet title action to remove a name or lien
Resolving outstanding financial and legal obligations held by the person who shared the title to the property with you can be complex. You may need to initiate quiet title action to remove a lien that you resolved as part of the probate process or that was resolved years ago.
Other times, you may need to go to court in order to ask for the courts to adjust the deed on record. The more people who have an interest in the property and the more complex the method in which you held title, the more help you will likely need in resolving title issues that result from a breakup or a death.