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How putting your home in a will can backfire

On Behalf of | Sep 26, 2016 | Estate Planning |

You’re thinking of leaving the family home to your kids, so you’re just going to write it into your will. Easy, right? It may be for you, but this can cause issues with children. If you have a son and a daughter, say, and you leave the home to both of them, you could pit them against each other.

The problem is that both your son and your daughter will own the home equally. They’re not going to live in it together, so some choices will have to be made.

Now imagine how badly it can go if they don’t see things the same way. Your son may love the memories he has of growing up there, for example, so he wants to keep the house and split the costs — property taxes and the like — with your daughter. Your daughter, though, has $150,000 in student loan debt. She’d rather sell the home and pay off her debt. She may have no use for a house, but she has a use for that money.

This puts them in a tough spot. One could even try to force a sale by going to court. There are options, such as your son buying out your daughter’s half of the home, but they may not always work. If you have a $500,000 house in Louisiana and your son doesn’t have $250,000 handy, he can’t buy your daughter out. This means he could be forced to sell. Some siblings never reconcile after incidents like this.

This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t put your home in your will, but just to show you how important it is to consider all of your options and what is really best for your family.

Source:, “Inheritance 101: How to Leave Your Home to Your Kids,” Brad Wiewel, accessed Sep. 26, 2016