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Who gets the house?

Nevada residents that are beginning to explore the estate planning process may be curious whether leaving their homes to children is the best course of action. Some families are torn apart when a parent chooses to leave a home to one child, which can lead to fights with siblings. Whatever decision is made, many experts recommend that parents communicate their wishes to children so there are no unpleasant surprises when the will is read.

The first consideration when deciding what to do with a home is how the children get along. If the children won't be able to agree on what to do with the property, parents may prefer to investigate alternative options. Arguments can arise if one child wants to live in the house, one would prefer to obtain rental income and yet another wants to sell and take the cash. In addition, if one of the children has financial problems, the house could be lost to that person's creditors.

Parents must also consider geographical factors. When children are scattered around the country, some of them may not have the means or desire to keep up with maintenance on the house, taxes, insurance or a tenant. In that situation, what was intended as a gift could turn into a burden on the children. The child's occupation could also come into play if the person is engaged in an occupation with a high risk of lawsuits.

An estate planning lawyer may be able to help those wishing to establish estate plans review their options. It may be possible to explore the possibility of opening a trust rather than deeding the house outright, which offers some protection. It may also be possible to have arrange to sell the house and distribute the proceeds.

Source: The Fiscal Times, "Should You Leave Your Home to Your Kids?", Sheryl Nance Nash, June 05, 2014

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