Dividing the Family Home When Your Parents Are Gone

House on cliffThe vast majority of parents want their estates to be divided equally among their children or grandchildren. But when the majority of an estate is made up of real estate — usually the family home — the mechanics of dividing the estate can be problematic. There may be one or more children who want to acquire the property in whole, while other heirs may simply want the cash it represents.

In this article, we will discuss some of your options to avoid prolonged litigation in probate court when the heirs can’t agree on what to do with the family home or other real estate.

  • Be creative — If the estate contains other assets of similar value, propose a division which gives the heirs property of a similar value but different type. For example, if one heir wants the home and the estate also contains stocks and investment property, structure a division which gives the other heirs the stocks and investment property or the cash from liquidating them.
  • Arrange a buyout — In addition to creative asset distribution, the heir who wants the family home may be able to negotiate cash buyouts of the other heirs’ interests in the home. This option is particularly useful if other assets in the estate are not sufficient to represent a fair division to the heirs who want to cash out.
  • Make a payment plan — If a cash buyout is not possible, the heirs may agree to a payment plan where the heir who keeps the house makes monthly payments to the other heirs. As long as all of the affected heirs agree to this arrangement, a probate court will probably approve the deal.

Resentment among siblings can fester for years and not be acted on until Mom and Dad have passed away. If you are the executor of the estate of the last parent to pass, you have your work cut out for you, especially if your fellow heirs can’t agree how to divide the assets.

Peterson Law Group helps clients develop estate plans and advises executors and estate administrators during the probate process. We answer your questions and explain your legal options for passing on or settling an estate. Call one of our experienced probate litigation attorneys at 979-703-7014, or visit us online at Peterson Law Group.

About Chris Peterson

Chris Peterson is an attorney and the owner and founder of Peterson Law Group, a Texas law firm with offices in Bryan/College Station and Kingwood. He mainly practices in the areas of Estate Planning and Business Planning. Chris is also a Certified Estate Planner. Besides his law practice, Chris is a serial entrepreneur and community volunteer. He is known for his cutting edge law practice that utilizes technology to deliver efficient, excellent work.