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I remarried. Should he put my name on his home’s deed?

By Karin Price Mueller | for

Q. I was married last year on Aug, 15 to a lovely man. We were both married before. He owns a house in Essex and wants to put me on the deed. We want to do some renovation together and so want the house in both our names. I can pay him half of the value of the house if that makes the transfer easier. There is no mortgage. Can we do a quit deed? What taxes would be due?

— The bride

A. Congratulations on your marriage.

Normally, the assets we bring into a marriage remain ours in the event of a divorce.

“Most of us enter into a marriage young and broke so this is usually not a problem,” said Bernie Kiely, a certified financial planner and certified public accountant with Kiely Capital Management in Morristown.

“You state in your question that this is not the first marriage for either of you,” he said. “So at this point. I would urge a little caution.”

There are no estate, gift or income taxes on transfers between spouses, Kiely said.

“If your husband transfers the ownership of his house to being owned by both of you, it would be titled `his name and your name joint tenants with right of survivorship,'” he said. “This means you each have an undivided interest in the property. In the event of the death of one of you the survivor would then have a 100% ownership.”

If your husband transferred half of the ownership to you, he could never undo that transfer without your permission, Kiely said. If your marriage failed, you would walk away with half of the proceeds from the sale of the house, he said.

You said you could pay him for your half of the home.

“This would solve the problem if your marriage failed. But this sounds like a business transaction instead of a marriage. But that could just be my problem,” Kiely said. “Another solution would be for him to put half the house into your name and you deposit cash into a joint bank account.”

You mentioned a quit claim deed.

This type of deed is used when someone is walking away from real estate without compensation, Kiely said. An example would be if you walk away from your principal residence and your ex walks away from the vacation house.

“In your case, the deed to the home would have to be rewritten and then filed in the county courthouse,” Kiely said. “I would recommend you hire a real estate lawyer to rewrite the deed and then you would have to pay the county a recording fee.”

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Karin Price Mueller writes the Bamboozled column for NJ Advance Media and is the founder of Follow NJMoneyHelp on Twitter @NJMoneyHelp. Find NJMoneyHelp on Facebook. Sign up for’s weekly e-newsletter.


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