If you want to leave your home to your children after you pass away, there are several things you should know. The following are ways you may bequeath your home to your children — with the benefits and challenges of each.
Include Your Home in Your Will
If you are in the process of estate planning in the State of California, you are likely considering executing a last will and testament (will). A will is a legal document that will allow you to transfer your assets, including your home, when you die. There is a court-supervised process known as probate that will occur after you die to ensure that your assets are legally transferred as specified in your will. You may designate more than one person to inherit your home and they each will inherit the home with undivided interest. They may then choose to keep it or sell it.
Establishing a Living Trust
Another way to ensure that your home is passed on to your children when you die is to set up a living trust. A living trust is created and managed during your lifetime and will not go through the probate process after your death. Using a living trust to transfer your home after your death has the advantage of distributing this large asset to your child, or children, much more quickly because it does not need to go through the probate process.
Make Sure to Use The Correct Terminology
Legal matters are often complex and complicated, and the courts will look if the correct verbiage has been used within the legal documents. If you want to ensure that your home is passed on to your children, you must use the words, “Transfer on Death” or “Joint Tenants with Right of Survivorship.” Again, using these words will expedite the process for allowing your child or children to inherit your home after your death. There are drawbacks to including the words “Joint Tenants with Right of Survivorship,” such as not being able to borrow against your home during your lifetime without their approval or not having full control over your home. It’s important to always visit with an experienced attorney to ensure that your legal documents represent your true wishes.
Sell Your Home to Your Children
One way to ensure that your child or children will get your home is to sell it to them during your lifetime. You will need to make sure that you are selling it to them at fair market value, or loan money to your children so that they are able to purchase it.
Qualified Personal Resident Trust
One other way to transfer ownership of your home to your children is through a Qualified Personal Residence Trust. This type of trust will allow you to live in your home rent-free for a certain period of time, while your children actually retain ownership. If you outlive the terms of the trust, the property will be excluded from your estate, and you will need to then pay fair market rent while living in the home. This option is not right for every family, but it can be a useful tool in some circumstances.
Contact an Experienced Estates and Trusts Attorney
If you want to ensure that your home is passed on to your children upon your death, contact an experienced attorney today at The Law Office of Christopher P. Walker at 714-909-2065 or online to help you understand your rights.