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Mr A

Understanding Home Gifting

Gifting a home to your child can be an incredibly generous action that offers financial security and stability, both now and in the future. Before deciding on this route, it's essential to understand the financial and legal implications of such a significant decision.

Why Gift a Home?

There are several reasons why parents may choose to gift a home to their child:

  • Secure a living situation: Providing a stable and long-term living environment.
  • Reduce inheritance tax: Trying to minimize taxes when assets are transferred upon death.
  • Financial support: Creating a solid financial foundation for a child to build upon.
  • Asset protection: Safeguarding a child's future, particularly if they have special needs or are going through a divorce or bankruptcy.

Steps to Gifting a Home

To ensure your child receives the most benefit from this gift, the following steps must be completed:

1. Determine Your Child's Need

Before gifting a home to your child, consider their current and future needs. Are they financially stable? Are they responsible enough to handle homeownership and all related responsibilities? The answer to these questions will help guide you in your decision-making process.

2. Assess Your Financial Situation

Gifting a home is a significant financial decision. As such, it's crucial to examine your financial situation closely. You should be able to comfortably part with the property without jeopardizing your retirement or creating financial hardships. Consult with a financial advisor to ensure that this gift is the right choice for both you and your child.

3. Consult a Real Estate Lawyer

Next, consult a real estate lawyer who can guide you through the legal aspects of gifting a home. This professional can help you understand any potential tax consequences and ensure you avoid mistakes that could jeopardize your intentions.

4. Appraise the Property

An appraisal is necessary to establish the fair market value of the property you are gifting. This value determines the tax implications for both you and your child. A certified appraiser can provide an accurate valuation of the property.

5. Calculate Gift Taxes

As of 2021, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) allows individuals to gift assets up to $15,000 per year without facing taxes. This exemption increases to $30,000 if both parents are gifting the property. Additionally, the lifetime gift tax exclusion is $11.7 million per individual, meaning most people can give assets up to this value without incurring a federal gift tax. However, it's crucial to talk to a tax professional to understand and calculate potential gift taxes.

6. Draft the Deed

An attorney will help you draft the deed to transfer ownership of the property from you to your child. The deed typically includes your name and your child's, the property's description and address, and the date of the transfer.

7. Record the Deed

Once the deed is signed and notarized, submit it to the county recorder's office in the county where the property is located. This step ensures that the transfer of ownership is legally registered and documented for future reference.

Using a Trust for Home Gifting

Instead of transferring a home directly to your child, you might consider establishing a trust to hold the property. A trust offers several benefits:

  • Protection from creditors: If your child faces financial troubles, the trust can shield the property from creditors.
  • Control over the home: A trust allows you to set conditions and instructions on the management and eventual distribution of the property.
  • Avoiding probate: Assets held in a trust can bypass probate, preserving privacy and potentially saving time and money.

To set up a trust for your child, consult with an attorney specializing in estate planning to ensure it's structured correctly to meet your specific goals.

Tax Implications and Reporting for Gifting a Home

It's important to be aware of the tax implications and reporting requirements for gifting a home:

Gift Taxes

As mentioned earlier, you should consult a tax professional to better understand potential gift taxes that may be applied. Make sure your gift falls within the annual and lifetime gift tax exclusions.

Capital Gains Tax

If your child eventually sells the property, they may face capital gains tax on the profits. The child's cost basis for calculating capital gains tax will be the same as your cost basis. Consult a tax advisor for guidance on mitigating capital gains tax implications when selling the gifted property.

Tax Reporting

You will need to file IRS Form 709 (United States Gift and Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax Return) for the year in which you gift the property. While you may not owe gift tax, the IRS still requires a report of the gift.

Potential Complications and Alternatives to Gifting a Home

Gifting a home to a child is not without its complications. Below are some common concerns:

  • Family dynamics: Gifting a home to one child may strain relationships with other children if they feel left out or unfairly treated.
  • Future financial stability: Ensuring the transfer does not negatively impact the financial wellbeing of either the parent or child.
  • Legal issues: Dealing with any legal problems, such as liens or other encumbrances on the property, before transferring.

If you face any of these complications, consider alternatives, like selling the property at a discount, providing a down payment for your child's new home, or renting the property to your child instead of gifting it outright.


Gifting a home to your child is a generous and potentially life-changing decision. However, it's essential to consider legal and financial aspects, including gift taxes, capital gains, and potential complications. Consult with real estate, financial, and tax professionals to structure the gift in a way that provides the most financial benefit for both you and your child. With the right planning and professional guidance, you can make a lasting impact on your child's life by gifting them a home.

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