Agent

Avoid tax bite while saving brother’s house

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DEAR BENNY: My brother bought his home about 15 years ago. He holds title only in his name, as a "single man." He lost his job a couple of years ago. He is older and is having a difficult time getting rehired. Long story short: He is now in arrears (18 months), owes escrow for taxes and insurance payments, and is facing foreclosure. His lack of employment is presenting a problem getting loan modifications or refinancing.

I am in a position to help him by paying up all his arrears and escrows. I can then handle all future payments. His mortgage balance is approximately half the current value of the house, so the idea would be that we both become half-owners. Even though the loan will continue to be in his name (I cannot get a new loan), he wants to deed half the property to me, and show us as tenants in common.

I understand he can quitclaim to himself and me as tenants in common, but here is the wrinkle: He married ...