How do I keep real estate in family after death?

Asked over 1 year ago - Malvern, PA

I have acre and a half and a home I would prefer not be sold upon my death , nor left to one child over another as I have eight. Rather a safe sanctuary for family members in need should it arise. Any suggestions

Additional information

Thanks to all for your suggestions and expertise. I have found information useful from each response.

Attorney answers (8)

  1. James S. Tupitza

    Contributor Level 18

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    Answered . You are really going to have to think this through. After you are dead, it does not matter what you wanted, it matters what the children want. Leaving a home to 8 children with no rules for sharing expenses, no rules for when the house can be used, and no rules as to who can use the house, will insure one thing. Your children will have conflicts over the property and you will not be there to referee. Talk to the kids and find out what they want and don't let what you want take precedence.

    DISCLAIMER The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to... more
  2. Howard M Lewis

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

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    Answered . You may create a trust for the property, there are many great local attnys in your area and one will help you.

    Legal disclaimer: The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to... more
  3. Robert John Carey

    Pro

    Contributor Level 12

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    Answered . I agree with Attorney Tupitza, trying to control this property from the grave will take a lot of forethought and planning, but still mey be impossible in practice. There are many family farms and estate properties in Chester and Lancaster Counties where the parents wanted similar results but the "children" had other thoughts - such as a lucrative townhouse development deal. You should contat an experienced Real Estate of Estates Attorney to discuss this and your other financial plans.

  4. Rochelle S. Rabin

    Contributor Level 13

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    Answered . I think it's really nice of you to want to preserve your children's home so that they can go back to their parents' home when you are gone, but I agree with Mr. Tupitza that there are a lot of potential issues to think through. Yes, you could set up a trust to hold and manage the property, but you really need to make sure that it's economically feasible as well as workable as a practical matter. Houses and properties need upkeep and maintenance as well as utilities and taxes, so there will be ongoing expenses. Where would the money come from to pay everything? And who would be responsible to make sure that your wishes are carried out and the property maintained? Think about whether it may be a burden on your children to have to maintain an additional property that they're not living in. If money is not an issue and there are funds available from your estate to set aside for the upkeep of the property, and you have someone available to do the work, you may be able to do this. However, think through whether the money might be better directed to your children and grandchildren.

    I, or any attorney, would have to know the details of your financial and family situation in order to advise you properly. I don't know how old your children are, where they currently live, or how well they get along (which can change after your death). All of the above would be factors to consider in deciding whether the plan would work. I can draw on my experience to tell you that sometimes an estate plan that seems perfectly reasonable at the time it is drawn up can turn out to be not such a great idea as time passes. As an example, I had a client who insisted on leaving his entire estate to the US government because, as far as he knew, his daughter was in great financial shape, as were his 3 grandchildren. Shortly after his death, one grandchild's husband developed a degenerative terminal disease, another grandchild became disabled, and another had a baby that needed ongoing care. Unfortunately, all $600,000 of the grandparents' estate went to pay down the US national debt and the grandchildren, who could have been helped immensely by the funds, were out of luck. Granted, this is an extreme case, but my point is that you never know what is going to happen in the future, so make sure your assets are allocated in such a way that you will have true peace of mind that your children are cared for after your death and that, should an emergency arise for one of them their share of the estate is not locked into a house when they could really use the cash.

    Rochelle Rabin
    101 Lindenwood Drive
    Suite 225
    Malvern, PA 19355
    (484) 875-3023

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  5. Cynthia A McNicholas

    Contributor Level 11

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    Answered . Every one of the attorneys who responded is correct. Your desires might be met with a very carefully drafted estate plan, drawn by a competent and experienced attorney, and considering all of the facts of the situation (including the type of property and highest and best use of it, in addition to all of the other factors mentioned) and all of the ramifications of each option (tax, maintenance, family dynamic and otherwise), but trying to create a plan that will work well for all eight children and their families might not be possible, or advisable.

    Focusing on the concept of a "safe sanctuary," it might be possible to develop a plan, such as a discretionary trust, that would be available to provide emergency help in the form of cash to a child or grandchild who runs into some unexpected difficulty, using the proceeds from the sale of the house.

    In the experience of most of us, a house-sharing arrangement among multiple siblings with homes of their own and differing needs often doesn't work and can lead to conflict and other problems.

    You will benefit from a consultation with a good estate planning attorney.

    Disclaimer: The information posted here is for general inforamtional purposes only and does not constitute legal... more
  6. Jonathan Craig Reed

    Pro

    Contributor Level 16

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    Answered . One solution is to set up a trust with the land in the trust and sufficient money in the trust to maintain the property (taxes, upkeep). Still, with 8 children, there might be quite a few issues over who gets to use the property, who gets to stay in what part of the house, etc. So the successor trustee may potentially face a lot conflict.

  7. Jacob Ryan Lauser

    Contributor Level 14

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    Answered . Have you considered asking your children what they think? Too many times, I have seen children, even with an iron clad trust, get into a brouhaha over trust property after their parents die and end up wasting the entire estate on attorney fees in the probate court. If you can come up with an agreement before you die and everyone is in on it, you might have better success. Otherwise, you might be simply setting your family up for a disastrous fight over money that ultimately destroys you all.

    Good Luck!

    Attorney answers to questions are for general purposes only and do not establish an attorney-client relationship.... more
  8. Joseph Franklin Pippen Jr.

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

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    Answered . Mark Twain said "You never know a person until you share an inheritance with them".
    Eight families sharing a home would be difficult especially sharing expenses, taxes, and upkeep
    among 8 families that are using it at different levels.
    I would meet with the family to determine if they would want to be part of this and if so-let them come with a plan of how it would work.

    The answer given does not imply that an attorney-client relationship has been established and your best course of... more

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