How to Transfer a Title to Include Both Spouses

A husband and wife separated two years ago and during that time the husband purchased a Scottsdale condominium in his name only. The wife signed a deed disclaiming any interest in this condominium. The couple has now reconciled, and he moved back into their home. The couple would like to rent out the condo unit as an investment property and however, they want the wife’s name added to the title. How do they go about having my named added to the title?

Both parties need to initially determine how they want to take title to the condominium. Unless there are children from a prior marriage, a husband and wife should generally take title to real property as Community Property with Right of Survivorship (“CPWROS”). If title is held as CPWROS, upon the death of the first spouse there is no probate and the surviving spouse becomes the sole 100% owner of the real property. Additionally, there is a tax advantage with CPWROS in that there is a full “step-up” in tax basis upon the death of the first spouse. After they determine how they would like to take title, they should then contact an Arizona real estate law attorney or a title company to draft and record the necessary paperwork.

Note: Any investment property should generally be titled in a “single asset” limited liability company in order to avoid personally liability. If that investment property goes “bad,” e.g., extensive mold damage and the tenant suffers personal injuries, no other assets of the owners of the LLC are affected.

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