The importance of including the family home in an estate plan

On Behalf of | May 12, 2023 | Estate Planning

You may be reluctant to speak about your death with your children or other heirs, but it’s a meaningful first step in estate planning. You should set everyone’s expectations concerning the settlement of your estate, including the disposal of your Michigan home. Discuss options with your loved ones and then take appropriate measures to make your final decision legally binding.

Create a will

Write a will and describe how you wish the executor to distribute your assets. If you die without a will, the probate court appoints someone to make those decisions, which may lead to anger and heartache.

Avoid misunderstandings

If you believe that your heirs will fight over the home if you leave it to more than one of them, direct the executor of your will to sell it and distribute the profits evenly among them. On the other hand, one heir may strongly wish to live in the house after you pass. If that’s the case, arrange a way for one to purchase the others’ shares and keep the house. Perhaps the others would accept more money from the estate in exchange for relinquishing any claim on the property. Whatever you decide, let them know and put it in the will.

Create a trust

Another aspect of an estate plan is establishing a living trust in which you name beneficiaries for your assets. The contents of a trust belong to a trustee who distributes them according to your directives. If you have any reason to believe that disgruntled heirs may contest your will during probate, move the ownership of the home to the trust and name one or more beneficiaries. Trusts are not subject to probate or challenges, so the beneficiaries will receive what you intended.

Deciding what to do with an inherited home can permanently fracture familial relationships. Save your family, and resolve the issue for them.