Next Avenue: What’s the best way to leave your house to your heirs?

by | Feb 24, 2023 | Stock Market

This article is reprinted by permission from Francesca Maresca, 54, of Highland Park, New Jersey, had spoken in passing to her father, John, about whether he had an updated will. It was only when he died at 89 of congestive heart failure in September 2020 that she and her sister, Catherine, learned that he kept their late mother’s name on the deed to the family home and they, rather than their stepmother, had inherited the house.

The sisters sold their childhood home soon after the deed was transferred to them. “There was no squabbling over things,” Maresca said. “I recognize that’s rare.” Indeed, homeowners who die before they decide and document what they want to do with their property can leave their relatives with a legacy no one wants: a protracted legal fight over what to do with the family home and the possibility of a substantial tax liability.What is at stake? Much is at stake. Cerulli Associates, a research and analytics firm in Boston, estimates that $84.4 trillion in personal wealth will be transferred from one generation to the next between now and 2045. Most of it — more than $53 trillion — will come from baby boomers, people born between 1945 and 1964; another $15.8 trillion from people born before 1945. Primary residences represent more than 70% of that wealth, according to one estimate. Members of Generation X — people born between 1965 and 1980 — stand to inherit …

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