What are the pros and cons of a husband, who is solely, on the deed adding his wife to the deed of the property?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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What are the pros and cons of a husband, who is solely, on the deed adding his wife to the deed of the property?

A married couple purchased a home in the husband’s name only, as he had access to VA loan; the wife had bad credit and a recent bankruptcy. A few years later, she desires to be put on the title to the property. What are the pros and cons of doing so and what would be required to do this? The house is mortgaged and the husband is the only borrower.

Asked on January 9, 2019 under Real Estate Law, Missouri


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Pros: if he passes away, she becomes 100% owner of the home without having to go through probate.
Cons: if she has significant debts in her own name, the creditors could potentially put a lien on the home, since it would be her asset, too.
To do this: you'd have to pay off or refinance the existing VA mortgage--real estate may not be transferred, even in part (e.g. by adding another owner) when there is an existing mortgage, since the transfer affects the lender's rights (but complicating foreclosure in the event of nonpayment) and that is not something you may do (you can't affect or alter their rights without their consent).

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