Family Home– By Allan

Your family home will probably be your most valuable asset in your estate after you pass away. I have written previous articles on clearing your mortgage early and the importance of having a debt-free home. However, in this article, I am going to tell you something that I think you will not agree with but my hope is over time you might change your mind.

Before you pass away you have to decide what you are going to do with the family home when both parents are gone. The easiest thing to do, is to have it in your Will that you want the family home to be sold and for the money to be divided equally between all your children. Your child with additional needs proportion can be placed into the trust. This might be the easiest thing to do but may not be the fairest thing to do to your child.

The worst scenario for your child with special needs is for the family home to be given to another sibling and they are to look after the child. This is something I would strongly argue against. It leaves the child with additional needs very vulnerable and financial dependant on other people, in-laws and other family members.

Here is what I am recommending.

While your children are under 25-years old I would have it in the Will that if both parents pass away then the family home would be owed by each child equally. My rationale for this is that all the children are very young and all would need a lot of money to raise them until they were independent.

When all your children are over 25-years of age I would change the Will and have it that the family home is left to the Trust for the sole benefit of the child with special needs. I would give each sibling a nominal amount of money and explain to them that they will receive the majority of their inheritance when the child with additional needs passes away.

My thinking is that all other siblings are at an age that they can now work. The assumption is that the parents have invested a lot of money in raring and educating the siblings and the shift is now to the child with additional needs who future earning potential is limited.

Funding the Trust with your most valuable asset is essential.

I believe you would want to pass away knowing that your child’s Trust is well funded and barring some disaster there should always be enough money in the Trust to provide your child with a decent standard of living.

Remember when your child with special needs eventually passes away then the siblings will then receive their inheritance as any money will go to them at this point. You are not cutting them out just delaying when they receive their inheritance which will be the right time for everyone.

The greatest difficulty you will have is explaining this to your son or daughters-in-law. Best of luck with this but never veering off the path of doing what is right for your child.