Question: We are senior citizens living in Surprise. Our only child is our son who lives in Ohio. In order to avoid probate, we have placed all of our assets, such as mutual funds, in P.O.D. (payable on death) accounts with our son. We own our home as joint tenants with right of survivorship, and we would like to add our son to the title. Our son has bad credit, however, and we do not want our son’s creditors to try to attach any interest that our son would have in our home. If we don’t add our son to the title of our home, will our home have to go through probate after both of us die? Should we put our home in a revocable trust?
Answer: If you do nothing, and the equity in your home is less than $75,000 when both of you die, the home may be eligible for transfer by affidavit to your son without probate. Otherwise, your Surprise home will have to be transferred to your son through probate proceedings. Because all of your assets except the home are in P.O.D. accounts, I would not recommend a revocable trust just for the home. What I would strongly recommend, however, is a beneficiary deed to the home by both of you to your son. This beneficiary deed would be recorded now, but your son would have no interest in the home until after both of you die. You can find the form in Arizona Revised Statutes Section 33-405.