Keeping the family house in the family

How to handle the family home is often a top consideration when engaging in estate planning. The house often the most financially valuable asset in an estate to the IRS and the most emotionally valuable asset to families.

Keeping the family home in the family by passing it onto one or more children upon death is often a client’s first inclination, their expectation being that a child will return home, live in the house, and keep it in the family indefinitely. But what if your children don’t even want the home?

This recent Washington Post column captured a discussion a family had about their house and the parent’s reckoning with the fact that her adult child did not want the family home after her parents pass away.

Trying to force the succession of the family home in one particular manner can cause unexpected or undesirable outcomes in the estate administration and probate administration process. That is why we often recommend drafting our Trusts and Wills for our clients in a way that doesn’t unduly limit a surviving family’s options when it comes to the family home.

We also recommend parents engage in discussions about their estate planning with their adult children because understanding your adult children’s perspectives can help you direct and streamline your estate planning.