Options for Leaving Your Home to a Loved One

Homes are often a person’s most valuable asset and it is not uncommon for people to want to leave those homes to their children or other heirs. However, leaving a home to a loved one can be a complicated endeavor. You want to make sure your family home stays in the family, even after you’re gone, please don’t hesitate to contact Alan G. Orlowsky for advice.

Drafting a Will

There are a few different ways to leave one’s home to a relative. One of the most common is to create a will where a person can specify who they want to inherit specific assets. If, for instance, a testator decided to leave his/her home to multiple beneficiaries, each party would inherit an undivided interest in the home. Alternatively, a person could choose to leave a property to only one individual. Unfortunately, there is potential for conflict between beneficiaries of a will, especially if an asset is left to multiple individuals.

Establishing a Living Trust

Those who wish to bequeath a home to a loved one upon their death could also choose to establish a living trust, which allows the trustor to transfer a home to the trust and then manage it until their death. Potential for conflict between heirs and beneficiaries is addressed by appointing a trustee to administer the assets. Living trusts also avoid probate, which can save beneficiaries a significant amount of time and expense.

Joint Ownership

Another way to allocate a family home is to give a portion of the asset to the beneficiary prior to death. For instance, if two people jointly own property with a right of survivorship, both parties would own equal shares until one owner passed away, at which point, the other owner would inherit the other half. However, owning property jointly can come with other complications. For instance, when property owners own a home jointly, neither owner can sell the asset or encumber it with mortgages without the consent of the other.

Transfer on Death Deeds

In some cases, homeowners can choose to name a beneficiary to receive their property upon their death. Known as transfer on death deeds, these arrangements give homeowners the ability to select a beneficiary who will receive their property once they pass away. This option also allows property owners to continue holding their residences in their own names until their passing. If a person owns a home jointly with another person, the transfer on death deed won’t actually apply until all the owners have died. It’s also possible to name alternate beneficiaries, so if one beneficiary refuses the property or doesn’t end up surviving the homeowner, another named beneficiary will receive the deed to the home.

Consult an Estate Planning Lawyer

The best option for keeping a home in the family will depend on a specific person’s circumstances, including his/her goals and finances. For help weighing these factors when making your own decision, please contact Alan G. Orlowsky today at 847-325-5559 or via online message.

Updated as of July 2019
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