Even if you don’t think you have enough money to warrant drawing up an estate plan, if you own a house in Brooklyn, you’ve likely got an asset that’s worth a lot. If you intend to leave your home to one or more of your children, it’s essential that you do it correctly. Otherwise, they could end up dealing with time-consuming and expensive legal red tape.
First, whether you have one child or several, you need to determine whether they want the home. If you have one child, it’s easy enough to leave the home to them to live in, rent out or sell and take the proceeds.
If you have multiple children, it can be tricky to leave the home to all of them. They may have different opinions about what should be done with it. If one of them wants to live in the home, perhaps you can leave the home to them and other assets to your other children. You can also designate that the home be sold after you’re dead and the proceeds divided equally between or among your children. It might be best to have the executor of your estate handle this.
If you decide to leave your home to a child (or other beneficiary), you can include it in your will or in a living trust. One big advantage of a living trust over a will is that it doesn’t have to go through probate.
You may choose to designate your child as a Joint Tenant With Right of Survivorship (JTWROS) on your home. That can make the transfer of the home to them easier when the time comes. However, it also means that they now own the home along with you. It’s important to understand the potential implications of that for both of you.
When you’re determining what you want to happen to your home after you’re gone and how best to codify that in your estate plan, an experienced estate planning attorney can go over the options with you and provide valuable guidance.