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The challenges of inheritance: The house

| Jun 22, 2021 | Inheritance Disputes |

Inheriting a home in Washington can present challenges to the heirs. When a parent passes away and leaves the family home to several children, deciding the appropriate course of action for how to handle the home might lead to conflicts between the parent’s adult children if they disagree about whether to sell or keep it.

When one adult child wants to keep the home

One adult child might want to keep the home because of sentimentality and an emotional connection to the home in which they grew up. However, when the siblings want to sell the home, this might result in conflict. The adult child might be asked to buy out his or her siblings’ interests in the home as a potential solution. If he or she refuses to do that, the others can file a partition lawsuit to force that to occur. However, that can lead to even greater conflict between the siblings. Unless the child who wants to keep the home also wants to live in it, doubling up on housing costs can also be prohibitive.

Agreeing to sell the home

Even if the siblings agree to sell the home, inheritance disputes can still arise. When one sibling serves as the executor of his or her parent’s estate, the others might disagree with the sales price. If the market is depressed, it also might take longer for the house to sell than was anticipated. One benefit of selling the home is that the heirs will enjoy a stepped-up basis and owe fewer taxes since the value will be based on the home’s value at the time of their parent’s death instead of the time it was originally purchased.

Deciding what to do with an inherited home can be hard for heirs. By maintaining good communication about what to do with the home, siblings might choose a solution that benefits them all and avoid conflicts that might otherwise arise.

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