Sarah Santana.

Watching your daughter take her first steps in the nursery. The porch where you saw your kids go to kindergarten. You stand in the kitchen and jump for joy when your son gets his first college acceptance.

Your house is full of beautiful, heartbreaking memories. And if you decide to keep it in the family for future generations, you must teach your loved ones to carefully preserve, invest and share the assets and wealth they inherit.

Start by talking to your loved ones about your family history, your values and your plans. These transparent discussions can help shape your shared vision and prepare the next generation for your family’s financial and philanthropic goals. It will also create a collaborative environment for making decisions on practical matters – such as. B. Care needs or succession plans for the family business.

A family decree will also be necessary if you feel it is time to dispose of your cherished possessions. Clear questions need to be asked and answered:

  • First of all: Are your heirs interested in owning and managing your family home?
  • Are they willing and able to pay the normal costs of maintaining the property?
  • Who is responsible for coordinating service providers such as plumbers, electricians or lawn mowers?
  • Who pays the insurance and taxes?
  • Who checks this place out regularly?

Review of available strategies

Once you and your family members have reached an agreement, talk to your advisor about different planning strategies for transferring ownership of your assets.

Direct transmission

Direct transfer is one of the most common ways to inherit property, as it allows the property to be passed from generation to generation via a deed. In the case of an outright transfer, there are several options that may be suitable for your family, including joint tenancy with right of survivorship, shared tenancy, life estate or transfer on death.

It should be noted that while direct transfer is relatively easy and inexpensive, it does not provide protection against creditor claims or sensitive legal situations such as divorce. In addition, it can be difficult to resolve disputes or transfer property.


Before incorporation, depending on your state’s laws, you can call your home a limited liability company (LLC). You retain at least 51% and designate your children as shareholders for the remainder.

Provide a use agreement that outlines the procedures for transferring ownership and instructions for using the property, and provide sufficient funds to maintain the property (often the proceeds of a life insurance policy are chosen). Your operating agreement should provide for an exit so that your heirs have the option of selling the house or buying out another owner – make sure you specify who should accept the sale and what happens to the proceeds.

A legal entity offers flexibility, lower taxable assets and protection for family members. However, establishing and maintaining an LLC can be expensive.


The trust agreements shall set out the terms of use and the procedure for the transfer, safekeeping and management of the assets. Trusts are popular because they allow for some control and can be less expensive to develop and operate than other options such as LLCs.

However, some trusts lack flexibility in the event of a change in circumstances – for example, irrevocable trusts generally cannot be amended. There are many options (e.g., irrevocable trusts, irrevocable grantor trusts, and qualified personal residence trusts, to name a few), so seek advice from a financial advisor or a real estate attorney.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution to the transfer of the family home – each heir’s family structure, geographical distance and willingness to take on responsibilities must be taken into account. Ultimately, your plan should facilitate a smooth transfer of responsibility, accurately define shared responsibilities, protect liability, and document the dispute resolution process.

Even after you have your plan in place, you need to make sure that conversations with your family, advisors and the rest of your professional team are on track. Your decisions should be properly documented, but most importantly, you should be sure that your wishes are fully understood.

Sarah Santana is a freelance columnist for The and Paso Robles Press; she can be reached by e-mail at [email protected]


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