I currently have my house in a revocable living trust with my two daughters as beneficiaries. Are there any tax consequences to transferring the house into their names now before I am deceased?

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    Tax and legal issues require us to know the country. Also since they are "children" we would have to know if they are minors. May 19, 2016 at 20:12
  • The major consequence is that the house won't be yours anymore. And relationships between parents and children can change. Think about that. I'm sure your daughters love you and only want your best - but what if your best is your home? Will they still love you when they've got it?
    – gnasher729
    Feb 26, 2017 at 20:07

2 Answers 2


littleadv is correct in his response, no surprise there. But, given that information, there are consequences you should be aware of.

Gifts to any non-spouse are a non-issue up to $14000/yr per person. Not enough to gift a house. You would need to tap your lifetime gift exclusion, which in 2016 is $5.45 million. More than enough to give your house away with no tax consequence. There's a form 709 that you need to file. It's just a way to track your generosity over the years, and tax you once you're above this level.

That was the easy part. The tough part comes later. Gifts' tax basis is not adjusted. In other words, you die and leave the kids a $1M house, they now have a basis of $1M and can sell with no cap gain or keep it, but pay only the gain from sale above $1M. When you gift your $1M house, you may avoid the gift tax, but your kids now have your basis. It's very possible you bought that house for $250K, never tracked any updates, and the kids will have that $250K basis for their eventual sale, and potential tax due on the $750K "gain."

On a personal note this is exactly what was done to my sister. The family house, bought in the 40's for $4000, was transferred over the years, from my grandmother, to my father, then mother, now sister. It was gifted 3 times, never inherited, which would have stepped up the basis. When she sells it (mom passed recently) she will have a $600K gain and nearly $100K tax bill due to this series of transactions.

As littleadv stated, the trust is moot. What I've answered is the second nuance of your question, the tax effect of the gift. Not upon gifting, but for the eventual sale. In my sister's case, lawyers often know just enough to be dangerous, how to transfer property titles, but not enough to advise on the future tax consequences.


The point of living trust is to avoid probate, not taxes. Usually, revocable living trust is transparent for tax purposes and from tax perspective the assets are considered your personal assets.

There may be some nuances depending on country, which you haven't mentioned, but that's the general rule.

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