By: Melissa L. Exline, Esq.
For married couples, an issue that arises often is this: One party might have better credit, or, a property was purchased with help from family. Later, a new loan is needed to get more favorable terms or remove the family members from title or the loan. Thus, one spouse asks the other to sign a deed prepared by the title company, at the request of a lender, so that a new loan or refinance can be acquired. If you sign a deed on a property giving your interest to another, spouse or otherwise – be prepared for the court to force you to honor the terms of the deed. It will not matter if you did not intend to give away your interest. Absent a clear contract signed by both parties spelling out the reasons for the deed, it will likely be considered a gift – period.
In Nevada, community property acquired during the marriage must be divided equally at divorce. However, when one spouse signs a deed granting, releasing or deeding away his or her interest to the other, then it creates a presumption under Nevada law that the grantor is gifting the property. In order to overturn the presumption that the deeded property was a gift from one spouse to the other, one must show clear and convincing evidence a gift was not intended. This is exceedingly difficult.
If you are ever approached with an request to sign a deed releasing your interest in real property – be aware – even if you don’t mean it, even if a gift was never discussed, you could be found to have given away all of your interest in that property.