Estate planning is all about streamlining the complicated and emotional legal challenges that follow the death of a loved one. A house is perhaps the most valuable assets a person obtains during their lifetime. So, as you might imagine, your parent’s home(s) may be complex to manage after their passing.
However, one way to simplify the transference of a home after death is to put it into a trust. Here are a few reasons why doing so could be helpful for your family.
The probate process is often lengthy (sometimes a year or more) and subsequently expensive. Through it, the courts will decide how the decedent’s assets will be distributed based on the person’s will or Washington intestate law. However, if your parents have another home in another state, that house will also be subject to probate if it is not placed into a trust.
Putting a home into a living or revocable trust can ease the emotional and financial demands on heirs by keeping this complex asset from the probate process. A lawyer can help your parents determine which type of trust will work best and how to avoid potential tax consequences.
Mental health issues
If your family has a history of Alzheimer’s disease, dementia symptoms or mental health disorders that limit an adult’s clarity of mind, putting your parent’s home in a trust can help protect the asset. Houses that are placed in trusts cannot be sold. However, depending on the type of trust that is selected, you may need to watch out for creditor’s efforts.
If your parent will be entering a long-term care facility, it's wise to speak with an attorney about the best options for handling the adult’s home.
Minimizing family conflict
Probate proceedings have a history of dismantling family relationships. Helping your parents put their home into a trust and organize other estate planning details can help prevent family squabbles over who should be entitled to what. While heirs may still deliberate overselling the home afterword, the responsibility for managing the home will be explicitly delegated in the trust.
Setting up a trust
When choosing to put your parent’s home in a trust, determining which type of trust will be most beneficial is very important. An estate planning lawyer can work with you and your parents to lay out which options make the most sense for your unique circumstances.
An attorney will also be able to secure other assets from passing through the probate process, ensuring that there is as little confusion as possible for the family.