Is it possible to give a $3,000 share in our home to each of our children each year until the market value is depleted -- not only to avoid probate but to keep a nursing home from getting the family homestead?
Several problems are inherent in your plan. Unless you have significant other assets, attemptin to give children your home in $3,000 increments to avoid a gift tax may be unnecessary. Your unified tax credit for federal gift and estate taxes for 1980 is $42,500, the equivalent of the tax on a net estate of $ 161,563. That tax credit increases to $47,000 for 1981 and later.
Giving small chunks of a house to several children requires a complicated legal document that will probably be more expensive and more trouble than probating a will that would convey the property to your children. Joint ownership is no substitute for a well-conceived, valid will. Your comment about a nursing home getting the family homestead appears irrelevant if other steps are taken. I suggest that you contact a lawyer to work out your plans.