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Published on: 01/10/2024

How To Keep Property In The Family Forever

For high-net-worth families with a treasured vacation property or family home, making sure it transitions smoothly across generations is a significant concern. A family’s property often holds not only substantial financial value, but also a wealth of memories, history, and sentimental value that can’t be measured in dollars.

Thankfully, there are a few effective strategies, such as Trusts and Family Limited Partnerships, that those who are wondering how to keep a property in the family forever can use to make sure their legacy lives on.

Having a trusted financial advisor to help you implement and maintain these estate planning solutions will be instrumental in protecting the legacy you’ve worked so hard to build, and allowing for your property to stay in your family for generations to come.

How do you keep your house in the family forever?

There are several options available for families looking for the best way to leave property upon death. Here are some of the most common strategies used:

1. Establish a Trust

Whether you’re protecting elderly parent’s assets or your own property, you may want to consider setting up a trust. A trust is a legal entity that holds assets for the benefit of one or more individuals, known as beneficiaries. In this case, the beneficiaries would be your family members who will inherit and continue to own the property.

A trust can be set up in many different ways, depending on your specific goals and needs. There are two main types of trusts to consider when it comes to keeping a property in the family forever: revocable vs irrevocable trusts.

  • Revocable Trust: A revocable trust, also known as a living trust, allows you to maintain control over your assets while still providing for their distribution after your passing. With a revocable trust, you can name yourself as the trustee and retain control over the property while designating your family members as beneficiaries.
  • Irrevocable Trust: What is an irrevocable trust? Unlike a revocable trust, an irrevocable trust cannot be changed or revoked once it has been created. Once you transfer ownership of the property into an irrevocable trust, it is no longer considered part of your estate and is protected from estate taxes, though it may still be subject to the gift deed in Texas. This type of trust is ideal for those looking to protect their assets and reduce tax liabilities for future generations.
  • Dynasty Trust: A dynasty trust is a type of irrevocable trust that stands out due to its ability to extend its benefits indefinitely throughout future generations. This unique feature stems from the trust’s exemption from the generational skipping transfer tax, allowing it to bypass the usual tax penalties that come with passing wealth across multiple generations. Furthermore, a dynasty trust effectively mitigates potential estate tax issues by removing the property from the taxable estate. 
  • Qualified Personal Residence Trust: If your primary concern is keeping your family home or vacation property in the family forever, a qualified personal residence trust (QPRT) may be the right option for you. This type of trust allows you to transfer ownership of the property into a trust and live there for a specified period while still retaining control over its use. After that time has passed, the property is transferred to your designated beneficiaries.

*Continue reading: How does an irrevocable trust protect assets

2. Consider a Family Limited Partnership

A family limited partnership (FLP) is another option for those looking to keep a property in the family forever. It involves creating a legal business entity that holds assets, such as real estate, with family members as partners.

The primary benefit of an FLP is its ability to provide asset protection and tax benefits. By establishing the partnership, you and your family members can transfer ownership of the property into the FLP, reducing estate taxes and protecting it from potential creditors. Moreover, an FLP allows for greater control over how the property is managed and distributed among family members.

3. Utilize a Buy-Sell Agreement

A buy-sell agreement is a legally binding contract between co-owners of a property that outlines how the property will be transferred in case of one owner’s death, retirement, or departure from the family. It can also include provisions for how to handle disagreements among co-owners.

By establishing a buy-sell agreement, you are planning for your property to remain within the family, and disallowing it from sale outside of it. This agreement can also provide a roadmap for how to handle any potential conflicts that may arise between heirs in the future, preparing for the property’s longevity within the family. However, it is essential to draft this agreement carefully with the help of a legal professional and your financial advisors to make sure that all parties’ interests are protected.

4. Put the property in a Limited Liability Company (LLC)

Another option to consider is transferring ownership of the property or vacation home into a limited liability company (LLC), keeping at least 51% of ownership to the LLC, and naming your children as shareholders of the rest. This allows for greater protection of the property from creditors and potential lawsuits. As the owner of the LLC, you can also have control over how the property is managed and distributed among your children.

Additionally, an LLC can offer tax benefits, flexible management structures, and ease of transferability among family members.

5. Include the entire family in your planning

As we enter the greatest wealth transfer in history, it’s as important as ever to involve the entire family in your estate planning and decision-making. By involving your children and future generations in discussions about preserving the family property, you are making sure that they understand and value its importance to the family legacy so that they too continue to preserve it for future generations.

Furthermore, involving your children in the planning process can help prepare them for any potential conflicts or confusion in the future. It also allows family members to express their wishes and concerns and come to a mutual understanding of how to best manage and pass down the property.

Looking to preserve your legacy for generations to come? Let’s talk.

High-net-worth families wanting to better understand how to keep a property in the family forever should consult with a financial advisor and estate planning attorney. They can help you determine the best course of action based on your unique situation, goals, and concerns.

By utilizing the various options available to preserve family property, you can work towards ensuring that it remains a cherished part of your legacy for generations to come. Whether through a trust, partnership, or agreement, taking proactive steps now can provide peace of mind and secure your family’s future for years to come.

Wondering which strategy is best for you? Avidian Wealth Solutions is a high-net-worth wealth management firm offering clients access to a suite of customizable financial services including estate planning in Houston, Austin, Sugar Land, and The Woodlands

Our team of experienced advisors can work with you to create a personalized plan that helps preserve your legacy and secure your family’s future. Schedule a consultation with us today to learn more. 

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