Legal Question in Wills and Trusts in New Jersey

Passing my Townhouse to my husband after death:

My husband and I each have wills which leave everything to each other. We have individual accounts and all are titled POD to each other. We have no children or inheritors. Only the townhouse is in my name only. What is the advantage of retitling in both our names JTWRS. Are there tax implications and must everything go through probate?

Asked on 9/29/13, 11:52 am

5 Answers from Attorneys

Jonathan Chester Lindabury, McCormick, Estabrook & Cooper, P.C.

Putting the title into JTWROS has the advantage of avoiding probate at the first death, as the property would pass to the survivor automatically. There are no gift/estate/income tax issues for transfers between spouses.

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Answered on 9/29/13, 11:57 am

Miriam Jacobson Law Offices of Miriam N. Jacobson

You do need to take into consideration any impact transfers might have on your medicaid eligibility and other elder planning. Consult an elder lawyer before making any transfers. Your estates will have to be probated, although many of your assets will not be probate assets. Probate merely means having your wills filed and your estates administered. There are always some assets that need to be administered.


* If the answers to your question confirm that you have a valid issue or worthwhile claim, your next step should almost always be to establish a dialog with a lawyer who can provide specific advice to you. Contact a lawyer in your county or township.

* Another reason for contacting a lawyer is that it is often impossible to give a good answer in the Internet Q&A format without having more information. The unique circumstances of your situation and things that you may not have thought to mention in your question may completely change the answer. If you want to be sure that you have a complete answer to your question and an understanding of what that answer means, establish a connection with a lawyer who practices in the area of your concern.

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Answered on 9/29/13, 1:38 pm
Keith Singer Keith A. Singer, Attorney At Law

You may change the deed as you wish, the new deed and recording is not expensive. However, if there is a mortgage on the property, the Bank would have to be contacted and provide consent. Considering only the information provided above it appears that you would be exempt from The NJ Realty Transfer Fee. Please feel free to call my office to discuss further. Best regards, Keith A. Singer, Esq. 732-749-3700

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Answered on 9/29/13, 2:03 pm
Walter LeVine Walter D. LeVine, Esq.

All of the authors are correct and have provided accurate and diverse information. However, there is a tax implication not discussed. If you add your husband's name to the current Deed you have theoretically made him a gift of the value he recerives (no real gift tax implication except if the property has a high valuation). However, he then takes a share of your original cost and if the property is subsequently sold there may be income tax consequences depending upon the realized profit (net sales price compared to original cost and improvements). If he inherited your house he would be eligible to "step up" his cost basis to its value at your date of death. This may avoid or reduced income taxes upon a future sale.

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Answered on 9/29/13, 5:16 pm
Robert Davies The Davies Law Firm, P.A.

You have received several answers from attorneys. Please contact an attorney near you and get some advice!

Please contact me if you are in my area.

Robert Davies, Esq.

201 820 3460

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Answered on 10/01/13, 11:28 am

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