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>>Here is what my mom did. She had my and my sibling's names added to the house ownership along with her's. Then she also made and signed a quit claim deed which took her name off and deeded the house to me and my siblings. But ... HERE IS THE IMPORTANT PART ... she did NOT have this deed recorded; she put it in a safe deposit box that also had all of our names on it. After her death, we got the quit claim deed from the safe deposit box and took it to the county clerk and recorder and had it recorded and later sold the house.<<

I've also heard of this approach, and I've heard there are lawyers who are recommending it. A week or two ago, in the Washington Post, a real estate lawyer/columnist was asked to comment on this arrangement, and he said that while he was aware there were lawyers recommending it, he would not do so.

I could see where this would work in some cases, but in others, it seems like there's also risk of confusion, unintended consequences, and even abuse.

As another poster noted, what if a lien is recorded on that property after the quitclaim deed's signed but before it's recorded? Whose debt is that then?

What if, between death and recordation of the quitclaim deed, some unfriendly family member or creditor or whoever rushes to court and wants all of the deceased's assets frozen pending probate in an effort to stop the transfer via quitclaim deed? I wonder if registering a quitclaim deed *after* a deceased's death would have legal effect in that instance.

What if one or more of the other signatories dies before or at the same time as the original owner? Then you wind up in probate anyway. That's the reason alternate beneficiaries are named in wills. A quitclaim deed may prove a crude substitute for long-term estate planning.

Most troubling, what if the original owner becomes disabled, and someone decides to record the deed without his or her knowledge. I suppose this could happen even if the original owner isn't even disabled.

It would seem to me that a living trust would be a safer way to handle this -- maybe a bit more complicated, but much more effective and easier to manage if a wrinkle comes up.

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