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Avoiding passing problems on to your loved ones

On Behalf of | Aug 25, 2016 | Estate Planning |

One thing people generally don’t want to leave their loved ones when they pass away are unexpected problems. Unfortunately though, that is exactly what a person could end up passing on to their loved ones if they don’t pay close attention to the specific characteristics of the various assets they are planning to leave.

There are certain things that could cause an inherited asset to create more problems for a beneficiary than the beneficiary would want to deal with. For real estate assets, one such thing is if the property in question suffers from toxic contamination. Among the troubles a property they were left in a loved one’s estate plan being contaminated could expose a beneficiary to are: high clean-up costs, difficulty in being able to sell the property in the future, the property’s value being lower than expected and potential legal liability.

Thus, when thinking about leaving a real estate asset to a loved one in a will or other estate planning device, a person may want to look into if there are any risks that the property could be contaminated. Examples of actions that can be taken to try to ascertain a property’s likelihood of being contaminated include looking at the history of the property, physically examining the property and (if necessary) having formal testing done of the property.

Examples of other things that could cause an asset to be more of a problem for a beneficiary than the person who left the asset intended it to be include the asset carrying heavy tax consequences and the asset costing a great deal to maintain.

What can a person do if they discover that an asset they were planning on leaving a loved one is contaminated or has some other aspect that could make it overly burdensome for their loved one? One potential option is to sell the asset and leave the loved one the proceeds of the sale instead. This isn’t the only option that may be available though. Which way of dealing with this sort of estate planning issue is the right one depends on the situation. Skilled estate planning lawyers can assist individuals in ascertaining if the gifts they are making in their estate plan are consistent with their goals, and give them guidance on what actions might be able to best help with remedying the situation if they are not.