You might be wondering about that house or condo you’ve left
in your will. Often, after a homeowner passes on, the real property is sold
from the estate to pay off debts. But maybe you have a relative who would like
to have and keep your home.
For the sake of exploring the question, say you still owe a $50,000
mortgage balance when you pass on. Of course, you could leave your beneficiary
enough money to pay your loan off, if you are financially able to do so. Or you
could pay it off early yourself.
But if you need to pass the home on with a mortgage, can
your beneficiary just keep your house or condo, and pick up the monthly mortgage
payments where you left off? At least the next owner would have a head start —
inheriting your home equity, and just paying what’s left on the balance.
A home can go into an irrevocable trust. But giving
up control over a primary residence is not something most owners want to do.
The owner lets go of the “incidents of ownership” and the house goes under a separate
tax ID, with taxes filed by a trustee. The owner might continue living in the
home, but the house essentially becomes a vessel to hold property for the named
Any homeowner’s financial circumstances and goals can change,
and so can their relationships with potential beneficiaries: family, friends,
and charities. This is why an irrevocable trust makes sense only in rare
revocable (living) trust, you can assume the role of trustee, and stay in
control of your real estate during your lifetime.
After you pass away, your living trust becomes a substitute
for probate. This is especially helpful if your estate would otherwise face multiple
probate processes because you have real estate in several locations. It is also
a helpful way to pass a home along to children when they become old enough to
receive it, as the trust can direct a title change to a child at a specified
If you need to modify your estate plan due to children
growing up, a marriage or divorce, or other significant changes in the makeup
of your household, or because of your age or physical needs, you may. You can take
the asset out of the trust, assign a new trustee, change your beneficiaries, or
modify other terms of your trust.
For many homeowners, this is the best of both worlds in
estate planning. You keep full control during your life, but seamlessly transfer
the home on when you pass on, avoiding the time, expense, and stress of
probate. Still, there are plenty of things to know before making this decision,
as we’ll observe in this article.
homeowner should die intestate. In plain English: Every homeowner needs a will.
By now, everyone knows life is fragile. Nobody has forever and
a day to put an estate plan down in writing.
And if you do leave things hanging, and you do pass away without
a will, or without some combination of a will and other instruments to convey
property, you’ll leave assets to be distributed under the state’s intestacy
laws. States try to send everything to your closest relatives, and if you’re single
without children, the state will contact siblings and so on, and pass your
property to them. That might be OK with you. But if you’re like most homeowners,
you’d prefer to decide for yourself.
If you’re a parent, it’ll be hard for your family to agree
on what to do without your written guidance. You also need a will to bequeath
assets to non-family members or nonprofits. You need a will, too, to explain
why you are not giving your home to a close family member if you choose not to.
Otherwise, you might be setting up a will contest after you pass.
When a person’s wishes are logically thought out and
expressed through a will, though, messy scenarios are far less likely to unfold.
Evelio and Milagros Esteban are in their 70s and they’ve been homeowners for years. But recently they ran into trouble paying their mortgage. That was when they mistakenly transferred their home deed to another Miami resident, who offered to help them rent out their home. Thinking they were signing a Section 8 housing application — which would help them rent out space affordably to low-income people — they in fact signed a quitclaim deed.
can span decades. Naturally, not all homeowners outlive these
long-term loans. Here, we discuss what happens when a homeowner
passes away with a loan still on the home. This can be a tough topic to
confront, but reviewing the potential scenarios will help you prepare for the
wants to get ready to sell the house, and pay off some debt.
rub. The will never went through probate, and a different relative of John’s
has been living in the home all this time.
Who gets the
named as the next owner in the will, and never refused the
deed. So, legally, A.W. owns it, right? Wrong. Procrastination is
the thief of assets, as A.W. learned the hard way. A will does not enact
itself. It has to be probated according to a timeline.
homes in a 55+ community? You might wonder: Will I be able to leave my
age-restricted condo home to my children?
buying your new home in an age-restricted community, check the
homeowners’ association rules on inheritance. Your realtor might have
mentioned two pertinent guidelines these communities follow: the
nationwide 80/20 rule, and the property’s own minimum age rule. We’ll flesh out
these guidelines here.
go after the assets of people 55 and older who have relied on
government-funded medical services. Do states actually wield this
authority? If they do, can people protect their homes from
these recovery actions? Here are the basics to explore with your
estate planning expert.