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How to Make My Son a Joint Tenant in Common

by Jayne Thompson, studioD

A joint tenancy in common has certain unique characteristics. Tenants in common own property equally or unequally. Each owner can sell or raise finance against his share independently of the other co-owners, and when he dies, pass his share to his heir by will or intestacy. You don't need a special deed to transfer real estate to co-owners, but you will need to specify how those owners are taking title.

Check your mortgage documents. The vast majority contain a due-on-sale clause, which gives the lender the right to demand full repayment of the loan if the borrower transfers title. The phrase "due on sale" is misleading because the clause accelerates the loan even if the property isn't technically sold, but transferred for zero consideration. If your mortgage contains such a clause, you'll have to pay off the loan or obtain your lender's written consent before adding your son to the deed.

Acquire a blank template quitclaim deed relevant to the laws of your state online, an office supply store or attorney's office. A quitclaim is a simple transfer deed, frequently used to transfer title between family members. It "quits" your claim to the property as sole legal owner and re-transfers it to yourself and your son as co-owners.

Prepare the deed by filling in the blanks. Write or type your full legal name and mailing address as grantor, and your name together with your son's name and mailing addresses as grantee. Enter the city and county where the property is located, with the exact legal description of the property as exhibited on your deed. Some jurisdictions require you to fill in the amount of transfer tax due on the quitclaim transfer. This tax is assessed according to the amount due on the transfer. If your son pays no or a low sum of money for the transfer, you may be exempt from transfer tax.

Add language to designate each co-owner's share in the property. When property is transferred to more than one owner, the law presumes that those owners are tenants in common in equal shares. If this is not your intention, specify the allocated shares in the deed. For example, you might own 60 percent and your son 40 percent.

Take the deed to your county recorder's office. Some jurisdictions require you to sign the deed before a Notary Public so that she might witness your signature; others simply require a notary's stamp. Typically, only the grantor signs the quitclaim deed.

Record the quitclaim deed at the county clerk's office and pay the recording fee.


  • As laws vary across states, consult a local attorney before attempting to transfer any property interest.


  • Adding a person to your deed without receiving payment in return is essentially a gift. If the value of the gift exceeds your annual or lifetime exemption, you're liable to pay gift tax.
  • Transferring a part interest in your property to your son may have wider-reaching implications. For example, you may no longer be entitled to property tax exemptions, such as the senior exemption or homestead.

About the Author

Jayne Thompson qualified as a solicitor in 1996. She holds a first degree in law and business from the University of Birmingham and a Master of laws from the University of East London.Thompson shamefully admits to using her family as fodder for the lifestyle and parenting articles she also writes, which have appeared most recently in "The Green Parent" magazine.

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