DEAR BRUCE: Awhile back, you had a question about parents putting their children's names on the deeds to their homes, car titles, etc., so that there would be no problems when the parents pass. As I remember, you said it was a bad idea to do that. I just can't remember exactly why, and I need specifics to take to my husband who, of course, is on his mother's house and car, along with her and his brother.
I apologize for having you revisit the subject, but I believe your answer had to do with credit, and I really do not want our 830 credit score to be in jeopardy. Thank you so much, and keep up the good work. -- Nancy in Pennsylvania
DEAR NANCY: In my opinion, it is not wise to add the names of your adult children on the deed or actually convey the property.
The problem is that when you put this in the kids' names, it is treated like their asset. If they go out and get themselves in trouble because of excessive debts, that home of yours is now an asset that can be attached to pay those debts. If they are involved in some type of an accident with no insurance or insufficient insurance, same thing. It is an asset that can be attached by the aggrieved party. There are so many ways your property could be put in jeopardy.
As far as any advantages, I keep looking, but I don't see any. Unless you deed children the property through a trust, there will be a trip through probate. But unlike the horror stories you hear, in an ordinary person's life, going through probate will not be an expensive or difficult process.
I'm not sure why you are paranoid over a credit score of 830. It could drop to 790 and you're still as good as gold. I don't see how your credit would be damaged by transferring the property or not transferring the property.
DEAR BRUCE: Is your column on the perils of being the executor of someone's estate still available? I seem to remember that you have addressed this question. -- M.M., via email
DEAR M.M.: I am confused. I don't recall ever writing a column on the "perils" involved in becoming an executor. The responsibilities? Yes. Perils? I don't know of any.