INCLUDE YOUR HOME IN YOUR ESTATE PLANS

For many Americans, their home is the most valuable asset in their portfolio. Purchasing a house, paying the mortgage and creating a home culture serve as valuable life events in our society. It is thus critical for many families to protect the family home during estate administration procedures. Experts offer a list of tips for those who are attempting to integrate their houses into their estate planning process.

First, many people include their homes in what is known as a revocable trust. This is a relatively simple estate planning document that can be changed at any time during the owner’s life. However, once the owner passes away, the trust becomes irrevocable, and its terms are final. The trust is there to make sure your wishes are enacted. Trusts can prevent your property from getting caught up in probate disputes, which can save money and protect your wishes after your death.

A common misconception, according to experts, is that trusts are only for wealthy Americans. Financial and legal authorities say that is simply not true, and that everyday individuals can also benefit from the protections offered by trusts.

Legacy provisions can permit the owner of the trust to dictate how the property will be cared for and managed in the future. This could stipulate that the person who receives the home during estate division may not sell or transfer the home. A trustee would manage this process for you after your death.

Additionally, specific bequests can provide reasonable options for people with multiple heirs. What if, for example, you have a number of children, and you want all of the kids to inherit some of the home? It would be much easier to simply sell the house and divide the proceeds. Sometimes, a provision is added to permit the surviving spouse to remain in the home until they pass away.

You can also use revocable trusts to give your home to charity or provide options for your children. For example, if you will the house to one of your kids, but they do not want the property, you can include options for further heirs.

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Written by Luis E. Barreto

Luis E. Barreto

Luis is a probate and guardianship litigator with over 23 years of experience in the field. Determination of heirs, will contests, breaches of fiduciary duty, removal of personal representatives, guardians and trustees are just some of the types of litigation he addresses. In addition, he administers non-contested estates and guardianships.