One of the biggest questions that heirs often find themselves asking when their parents pass away is just how much the family home is worth.
After all, the Seattle area is consistently one of the most expensive in the entire country. The median home price is over $422,000 for a single-family home. If the house is in a desirable area or larger than the average, you can expect it to command a price far higher than that.
For the heirs who get the house, they have to decide what to do with it. Common solutions include:
- Selling the home and dividing the money earned among all of those with an ownership share
- Renting the house out and dividing the money, perhaps planning to sell at a later date
- Sharing the home and the costs of ownership to keep it in the family
- Allowing one heir to buy up the shares from the others so that they can keep the house to themselves
As you can imagine, this process can lead to a lot of disputes. For instance, what if one sibling wants to sell the house and profit, but the other wants to keep it in the family? At the same time, the sibling who wants to keep it does not have the money to buy the other's share.
What you have is a situation where someone is going to be angry no matter what. If the sibling who wants to sell gets their way or forces the sale, the other person feels regret about losing the family home, despite the income it provides. If they manage to keep it, the other person sees it as a liability, something they didn't want to own in the first place, and they regret "losing" the money they would have made in the sale.
In some cases, you'll also have situations where one child still lives at home, despite being an adult. When the parents pass away, that child wants to keep living in the house, even though they don't have the money to buy up the shares from all of their other siblings. If the others decide to sell the home, they feel like they're getting kicked out of their house, even though that's not legally what's happening.
No matter how the situation plays out, it has the potential to get complicated. It can lead to estate disputes. It may wind up in court. If so, with this much money on the line, it is very important for you to know exactly what legal options you have.