Home Sweet Home: Probate And Your Family Home

When a loved one passes away, it is often the adult children of the deceased that are burdened with dealing with the loss and the details of probate. If your father or mother had a will, or even if they did not have a will, you are likely facing the prospect of probate. This is a bad time for everyone, but someone must be put in charge of seeing that your parent's wishes are followed. As the family members, you will have several important tasks to accomplish during probate, particularly when it comes to the family home. Read on to learn more about dealing with this aspect of your parent's estate.

The Estate

This term can throw some people for a loop; it does sound grand and expansive. In this instance, the word estate simply means everything that the deceased owned. If there is a living spouse, most, if not all of the estate is likely to go to them. If your parent is a widow or widower, however, the property that makes up the estate must be divided and distributed according to the will.

A Common Division

To simplify the estate process, some parents choose to simply divide their property "evenly" between their children. Those children would then need to decide on who will get what property. For example, you and your sibling may decide that one will get the car, one will get the workshop tools and the funds in the bank account will be divided two ways. When it comes to the family home, however, it can get trickier.

The Family Home

It's not always the case, but often the family home is the childhood home of you and your siblings, and if so decisions about what to do with it may be accompanied by a lot of emotions, drama and sadness. That frustration can be even more significant, however, when you consider that real estate can make up the largest chunk of the total estate. When you combine high emotions with financial issues, you may have a contentious issue on your hands.

Making the Choice

There are several solutions for dealing with the family home, and the choice must be agreed upon by all parties. Letting the probate courts decide what to do with the home is best left as a choice of last resort. There are a few ways to view the deposition of the family home among siblings:

  1. You can agree to co-own the home with your siblings and divide expenses for upkeep. This can work well if the home is to be used as a vacation property to be used by everyone or rented out to a sibling or third party.
  2. You can agree to have one sibling own the home by purchasing the share of the other siblings. For example, if the home is appraised at $200,000, one sibling could pay the other $100,000 to own the home outright. Other estate property, such as an investment account, could be traded for a share of the home, as well.
  3. You can agree to sell the home and evenly divide the proceeds.

Work closely with your estate attorney during this stressful time.You can also visit a website such as http://rmstoneattorney.com/ for more information.