Recent reports say that the number of multi-generational households has grown by 30 percent in the last two decades. There are many reasons for this, including divorce, losing a job or a parent needing care from an adult child. Here in Georgia, if one child lives with his or her parents for an extended amount of time, the parents may wish to leave their home to that child. Though leaving a home to all children in an equal share seems fair, it can leave the child who was living at home without a place to live once the parents pass on. Experts say that the way to avoid this problem is for families to create a trust as part the provisions of their wills.
A trust can protect both the child living in the home and any that are not. If the parent is eligible for property tax exemptions, the trust can preserve them. It will also prevent heirs from having to pay capital gains tax for the property if it is sold. The property will also be protected should one of the children get divorced. The trust cannot be irrevocable; otherwise, these provisions will not be enacted.
The trust should be created with the ability to change, remove or add trustees at any point in time for any reason. The probate process will be shorter thanks to the trust, which will specifically name any beneficiaries, including the child who has been living at the home. Experts recommend that parents specify in their wills an amount of time that the child will have to make a choice regarding living arrangements, and they can even create a plan for the child to make payments to his or her siblings.
No matter what choice a Georgia parent makes regarding the family home, it is imperative that his or her wishes are carried out. Working with an attorney who has knowledge regarding trusts, wills and estate plans offers the best chance of that happening. A comprehensive estate plan is something every family needs to have.