Posted by Dana Law Group on August 19, 2020
Perhaps your family home is something that you’ve built over decades for the next generation. Perhaps it’s simply a property that you’ve poured a significant amount of money into — and you want to make sure that the investment lasts. Many parents want to make sure their home is passed onto their children, but that can be more complicated than it seems.
Consider: You pass on and you are survived by your spouse. Absent a will, your spouse will gain your property. Your spouse eventually gets re-married and your spouse passes on. At this point, your spouse’s new partner may inherit their shared home: Your home.
Absent a will, it’s impossible for you to control where your current assets end up after you pass. Instead, they follow the laws of inheritance.
In addition to a will, you may want a trust. A trust helps avoid probate and estate taxes. A trust will be able to manage your child’s inheritance if they are too young to manage it on their own. And a trust can come with conditions, such as children staying in school, or not selling the family home.
Let’s say you have adult children right now. You can ensure your home is passed on to your children by owning it in joint ownership with your children. If you pass on, it will revert to the other owner. Now, there are some issues with this that need to be discussed with a legal professional, especially if you have a spouse. A spouse could contest this as part of your own estate, which means you need to be on the same page with your spouse, and you need to protect yourself legally.
When you die, you can engage in a transfer of ownership. This would be part of your estate planning. It sends your property directly to your beneficiary, so it doesn’t have to go through probate with the rest of your estate. Of course, you need to have full ownership of your property. If you own the property in part with your spouse, this is more complicated, because they will own part of the property after you pass.
Even if you’ve planned everything to the smallest detail, you need to discuss it with the rest of your family. If you don’t, they may contest it. Frequently, family members may have a different idea of what’s going to happen when you pass, and they may try to dispute your will or your plans afterward. If you discuss your plans now, openly, you can head off any potential issues later.
There are multiple ways that you can ensure your home is passed on to your children. But above all, you should do careful estate planning to make sure that every element of your estate is taken care of. This will reduce the amount of confusion and frustration that will occur later on, and ensure that your wishes are followed as closely as possible.