Real Estate and Vacation Homes
Real estate, whether a home, rental property, commercial property, or vacation home, is often a large part of a family’s wealth. Protecting your property and planning for its transfer to future generations or other beneficiaries are crucial and sometimes complex components to successful estate planning.
A document called a Declaration of Homestead may be filed with the Registry of Deeds to protect a significant portion of the value of your primary residence in case of bankruptcy or lawsuit.
Upon your death, real estate owned outside of your state of residence and held in your name can require lengthy and expensive probate proceedings in the state where the property is located. If you have an out-of-state real estate, putting the property into trust is an excellent way to avoid probate proceedings, as real estate held in trust typically avoids the probate process. This means your estate will not have to pay for a lawyer and the associated probate fees in the state where your property is located. Holding property in trust is also a great way to pass a family property to multiple beneficiaries without burdening the title with multiple owners.
Finally, those with family cabins or vacation homes should consider putting together commonly used (and legally binding) agreements that clearly describe how ownership will transfer upon the death of the current owners. This can avoid significant family disputes and division amongst children and grandchildren about ownership rights, costs, and responsibilities. It can even avoid a potential forced sale of a beloved family property due to one disgruntled family member