Q: I received 4 acres as a gift from my Dad that he inherited from his dad. The deed is in my name only.
My boyfriend and I plan to build a house on this land, which will include using the equity in his home. We will want the house in both our names as joint owners. Once the home is built, does the land/home become one? Or, can the land remain in my name, and the house (the improvement), be in both our names?
A: The land can be held in your name alone, although if I were your boyfriend, I’d insist you change names on the land as well as the house.
But since this is land that comes to you through several generations, you may not want to retitle it. But you and your boyfriend need to think through how you’re going to hold title to the property, what happens if you two break up, how you’re going to pay for the building of the home, and so on.
In addition, since you and he will own property, you should think about what will happen if you die, or he dies. Who gets the land and ownership of the house? You should each write a will, and look into other ways to put your financial house in order.
Since you’re not married, I suggest you sit down with a local real estate attorney and ask him or her to draw up a partnership agreement that spells out these issues. The real estate attorney may or may not be able to help you write a simple will. If not, he or she should be able to refer you to someone competent.
All of this means that you and your boyfriend will have to come to some decisions about these important financial and ownership issues. Good luck.