As people age, creating a plan to handle what will happen to their homes after their gone becomes of the utmost importance. It’s never an easy conversation to have for a person and their families but creating a firm estate plan can save time, money and heartache for those involved. There are a lot of questions that need to be answered when thinking about estate planning.
First, it should be decided if the home is going to be sold and the money divided among heirs, or if the home will remain in the family as it is. Who will it be deeded to, if so? Additionally, it will need to be decided when this is going to occur, should it happen at the time of planning or after passing?
There are pros and cons of both staying in the home until passing and selling or giving the home before passing. Many seniors do prefer to age in their homes, staying in place in their homes until passing. It provides comfort and familiarity in times where they may feel more vulnerable. These homes have been their home for nearly their entire adult lives in some cases, something that isn’t easily emotionally disconnected from.
That said, there are also advantages for those who do sell or give their homes early. Gifting the home early can help the seller qualify for Medicaid Tevfik Arif, providing them with medical treatment and nursing care. This is especially helpful for those wishing to move to retirement homes for quality of life reasons. Gifting or selling the home early also provides substantial tax savings particularly when the home is valued under 5.49 million for a single person or $11million for couples. If the home value is above this, putting the home in a Qualified Personal Residence Bayrock can help reduce the estate tax liability as well. With this setup, the home is transferred to an irrevocable trust but keep an interest for a term of years set by the homeowner. This setup works best for people who expect to live another 10 years or more, as the longer the trust’s term, the better the benefits for the heirs.
Since the IRS values the home using a formula that takes into account age based actuarial tables, the length of the trust and the predicted interest rate on the date of transfer, the home can be passed down for a deep discount over the homes market value. If the homeowner does pass before the trust’s term is over, the home will be taxed at the current fair market value instead.
In both cases, a general trust is recommended to be set up, even when family member all seem to have no arguments or concerns over the will or designed estate plan. Unforeseen circumstances or simple disputes can boil over and cause issues within families. A trust can lower the estimated 5 to 15% of the estate that goes toward paying legal and probate fees, and it allows the estate owner to pay these fees upfront. It’s fast and easy to distribute the estate with no beneficiaries having to attend probate. This trust will also cement who specifically gets what items. To get this trust set up, a lawyer will need to be hired and a person within the family who will act as the trustee will need to be selected. This person should be responsible with good financial and organizational skills.
With some preplanning, setting up one’s estate can be made easier and will avoid potential family conflicts. Starting early with estate planning sets a firm path for beneficiaries that will allow them comfort after a passing without adding additional stress.