If you’re like most people, the house you live in is far and away the most valuable asset you own. If you think about the value of all of your other assets compared to the value of your home, it can seem impossible to make an even division of your property in a way that would be fair to all of your children. Luckily, you’re not the first person to wrestle with this challenge. There are a few tried and true methods of taking care of all of your children equally after you pass away.
Have an open discussion
It can be highly beneficial to gather your children and have a frank and open discussion about their expectations and desires. Often, siblings will recognize that one of them has special circumstances, and they will be content with letting that sibling have a greater share of the estate.
If more than one of your children expresses an interest in your home, and you don’t have other assets to balance out the home’s value, then you might have to get creative.
Consider a sibling buy-out plan
If you own your home outright, you could leave each child an equal ownership share in the house. Whichever child you leave it to can then slowly buy out their siblings’ interest shares, eventually becoming the sole owner of the house.
This method is beneficial to all parties, because the non-inhabiting siblings receive value, and the inhabiting sibling doesn’t have to come up with the full amount to buy out their siblings all at once.
Finally, if you can’t find a fair way of distributing your assets, you might have to direct your executor to sell your house and divide the proceeds among your children.
Estate planning can be tricky business, and sadly it often leads to infighting among siblings. Making sure you have a rock-solid estate plan in place can minimize the chances of your children fighting after you are gone.