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Passing property on to children when you die

Passing property on to children should be straight forward, but can cause problems if not handled properly.

Increasing house prices along with a challenging economy are making it harder for the younger generation to get on the property ladder.

So, it comes as no surprise that there are estimated to be well over 3 million single young adults living with their parents.

The financial situation is only one reason. Other reasons could be that they are caring for elderly or infirm parents or are themselves shielding during the pandemic.

Whatever the reason, the situation gives rise to potential conflict situations over future ownership of the family home.

Even where adult children get along perfectly well, there is potential for a dispute and a messy legal battle once the parents are gone.

Disputes between siblings can often arise where one is living at the property, and understandably wants to remain there after the parent dies, whilst the other wants to sell so they can access their inheritance.

Even if everyone agrees that the sibling can remain in the home, there could be a situation where the property has to be sold to cover the debts that are left.

Passing property on

The best way to avoid conflict between children is to ensure that there is a valid will in place and that it clearly stipulates what should happen to all your assets, including the property, when you die. Make sure that your wishes are known by all the siblings.

It’s important to remember that the executors of the will have a legal duty to ensure that any debts are cleared before they are able to distribute the estate. If there are any debts payable from the estate it is important that there are sufficient assets in the estate for these to be repaid if it is the intention that a child continues to live in the property.  Otherwise, there is a possibility that the property will need to be sold.

Claims against an estate can be expensive and often cause unnecessary division between the siblings. It’s hard when a loved one dies; grief can put a strain on even the closest family relationships. However straightforward or complex your situation is, planning ahead and discussing your particular circumstances with a solicitor is the best way to ensure that your intentions are made clear.

If you would like to discuss drafting a new will or updating an existing one, call and speak to our team on 01302 320621.

 

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