It’s not unusual for parents to leave their primary residence or vacation home to their children. Unless your parents’ wills or trusts specify otherwise, you and your siblings will receive equal shares of the home, which may lead to conflicts if you have different financial needs or differing views about how the home should be used.

The first step is to sit down with your siblings and have an open, honest discussion about your wishes for handling the inherited home. Generally, the options are:

  • Keep the home and share it among family members,
  • Rent out the home and share the rental income,
  • Sell the home and divide the profits, or
  • Arrange for one sibling to buy out the others.

If you decide to share the home, have a written agreement drafted by your attorney that outlines rules regarding scheduling, allowable uses, and responsibility for maintenance and expenses. If you choose to sell the home or arrange a buyout, obtain a professional appraisal to avoid disputes over the home’s value.

If you rent out the home, determine how you’ll handle rent collection, maintenance and other rental activities. One option is to engage a property management company to handle the day-to-day management.

Another issue to consider is how the title to the property will be held. For example, if you and your siblings own the home as tenants in common, then your respective interests will pass to your heirs according to your individual estate plans. But if you hold the property as joint tenants, then when one sibling dies, the surviving siblings receive his or her share.

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Disclaimer: The THK Legal Blog is for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon as legal advice. In no case does the published material constitute an exhaustive legal study, and applicability to a particular situation depends upon an investigation of specific facts. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. All THK blogs are considered advertising material by the Indiana Bar Association.