Law Office of Amy B. Van Fossen, P.A. - Elder Law

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Don’t forget the house when creating an estate plan

A home can be a Florida resident’s biggest asset. Therefore, it is worth including in an estate plan. Doing so can prevent a potential source of family infighting after a homeowner passes on. What is done with the home after the current owner passes depends on a variety of factors. For instance, potential heirs may not want to pay taxes, insurance and maintenance costs.

It is also important to consider whether there is an outstanding mortgage to contend with. If a potential heir doesn’t have enough money to cover those expenses, it may be best to plan on liquidating the property. However, even if the property is liquidated, it’s important to determine how the proceeds from the sale will be split. Selling the home may also be the ideal solution if the children can’t make up their minds as to how to account for it.

An estate plan can also account for what happens if one adult child wants the house but the other doesn’t. This problem can be resolved by leaving the house to the child who wants it while giving proceeds from an investment portfolio to the child who would rather have the cash. Assuming that the home will be kept in the family, it is important that the property be titled properly.

With an estate plan in place, the asset distribution process can be easier to complete. Ideally, an estate plan will contain a will and a trust. If the estate owner has a home or other real estate to account for, this could be done by making a beneficiary designation. While the designation trumps any instructions left in a will, it may allow an asset to be passed down to a beneficiary without going through probate.