I'm considering adding my long-time fiance's name to the title of my house. However, I have concerns that in the event that we opt not to get married (or just decide to part company) that I'm opening myself up to a divorce-like battle over my own property. I've owned my home for over 25 years, so the thought of possibly being forced to buy him out or even sell my home is a major concern. Is there a separate, legally enforceable document that can be drawn up and signed by both parties stating that in the event that either party wants to end the relationship, 100% ownership of my property reverts back to me?I realize that the obvious solution is simply not to add his name to the title in the first place, but there are reasons why I'd like to at least know if this is an option (and if there's any way I can protect myself if things between us should change in the future).
Country relating to Question: United States
Dear JACUSTOMER - It's not that you would be opening yourself to a divorce type situation but rather it would simply be a case of having to split the equity in the property if both names are XXXXX XXXXX deed. You are essentially giving him half of the property. I cannot give specific legal advice from this website and without knowing all of your financial information I can't tell you what would be a perfect way to add his name but also be protected. The problem is how to structure an agreement that would fit all future possibilities. I would have more questions than answers. For example, what happens in case of death of either party? What happens in case of mental or physical disability? What would happen if you wanted to break up and he didn't? etc. etc. The point is that it is virtually impossible to cover every possible future occurrence that would trigger him deeding the property back to you and the ultimate question is what happens if he simply refuses to sign the deed. That one I can answer and the answer is you would have to sue him for specific performance and lawyers don't come cheap. So in essence you want to add his name but you want the right to have him sign it back to you whenever you decide you want it back. What you need in an agreement is very short and simple. "In consideration for giving you half interest in the property you agree to sign it back on my demand at no cost to me and you agree to deed it to my estate upon my death at no cost to my estate". So long as the deed is with survivorship you would inherit it from him upon his death rather than going through his estate.
Unless there is a compelling reason to add his name I really see this as creating more problems than its worth.
25 years experience in general law, including real estate, criminal, traffic, and domestic relations
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