DEAR BOB: I am a single mom struggling to make ends meet. Fortunately, I bought my home in 1999 for $315,000. Today, it is worth close to $700,000. I am considering selling and moving to a smaller home in a less-expensive neighborhood, hoping to eliminate the mortgage payments. But I was recently dismayed to learn that because I am single I can only exclude $250,000 profit from capital gains taxes, while my friends who have husbands can exclude $500,000. Is there any way around this limitation? Can I add my son to the title when he turns 18? Would it be wiser to sell my home without making costly cosmetic upgrades such as new carpet and paint? --Cathy J. DEAR CATHY: Sorry, without a spouse around the house, there is no easy way to increase your Internal Revenue Code 121 principal residence sale exemption from $250,000 to $500,000. Purchase Bob Bruss reports online. But your son need not be 18 to add his name to your title. Minors can hold title; they just cannot convey title. However,...
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