My father wants to put me on the deed to his house; should we use a quit claim deed or a living trust?
My father wants to put me on his deed to his house in case something should happen. If we did a quit claim deed to put me in his vesting is this going to be enough of a legal route to stop probate?
If your father wants to put you on the Deed to his house, you and he can be joint tenants. Joint tenancy means that both of you become owners and if anything happens to one of you, the entire real estate will be the property of the remaining tenant (you will only need to file a simple document with the Recorder's Office in case of death). However, it is usually better to transfer by Grant Deed (and not the Quitclaim Deed), so that you do not have any problems later with the title company when you decide to sell this property.
A living trust is a completely different thing. A revocable living trust basically means that the property belongs to your father until his death (assuming that it is the regular standard trust, of course) and he can change or cancel it at any time until his death. Upon his death, the property will be transferred to the beneficiaries (i.e., to you).
The problem with joint tenancy can occur if both joint tenants die at the same time (as in a car accident, for example). The property will then go through the probate (which is usually expensive and time-consuming). In trust, this problem is usually avoided, as there can be additional beneficiaries. However, if your dad receives or is expected to receive SSI, Medi-Cal or anything else from the government, it might be better to transfer to joint tenancy and not to the trust.
In any way, you should discuss the details with the attorney, who will prepare all the documents for you. There are many issues which can give you problems later if you do not anticipate them now. For example, if your father is married now, his wife might later claim that she has a right to part of the house as her portion of the community property.
You need to approach this very carefully, because there is a potential here for you to end up in trouble, later on, accused of taking advantage of your father as an elderly person. Your father should talk to a lawyer familiar with "elder law" (which quite a few attorneys advertise these days), on what makes the most sense for him.
Your father's concerns do make sense, and I hope you'll help him follow this up. You can't go to the attorney with him, though, because that creates a conflict of interest. But for your father, things like possibly needing nursing home care through Medicaid in the future can be dealt with more effectively through advance planning, sometimes.
I suggest one of two things. The first thing that you can do is set up limited liability company that names you as the member of the company. then your dad can transfer the property to the LLC via quit claim deed. This way, should something happen to your dad, the property is safe with you. Plus, should you get sued for some reasons, the property is protected from any creditor trying to take the equity that your dad has built into the property. The second way to do this is a simple quit claim deed to you (or an LLC) and have your dad execute a lease that lasts for the rest of his life, where he only pays for utilities and upkeep and the mortgage like he usually does. the rent can be $1.00 a year. These ways accomplish your goal. Make sure a lawyer assists you.