We live in Ohio, but I own property in Nebraska that has been in the family for over 100 years. My father farms on it through a life estate, and it is worth roughly $200,000. My wife and me have begun to put together a will. We have both agreed to share everything. But, I’d like to know if it is possible to leave some property to my wife while keeping this property in my household. My brother does have children. We don’t have children.
My brother owns property next to mine (where my dad also has a lifetime estate), but he, and his children, have not shown any interest in the property. Although I wouldn’t mind giving the property to my children if they want to sell it, it is difficult to imagine what they would do. It’s understandable if they don’t want to move their families to the area. We can’t ask them to make that decision.
“‘I would like to leave the land to my wife, but I’m concerned that if she remarries that the land could leave the family.’“
I would like to give the land to my spouse, but I am concerned that if she marries, the land could pass to her spouse. Although I could leave it to my wife with an estate for life, we agree that it would have to be modified if we built a house there. It wouldn’t be fair for us to spend our savings on a home that my brother’s children will inherit if we die.
. If I make a will to leave my wife a life estate, I worry that the children may view it as a sale of their property if I die. Is there a way to give the land to my spouse that lowers the chance of it going to the family? One idea I have is to give her a portion and leave the rest as a life estate. Another option was to grant her the land with the right of first refusal to her children in the event that she decides to sell it.
Protecting My Family’s Heritage
I understand your wish to protect your family’s land, given that it’s been in your family’s possession for 100 years.
. The land is a source of memories, pride, and the desire to continue a tradition. It can be difficult to deal with land that has a history going back generations. Your wife will no doubt see its historical importance in your family. A word of caution, there is no guarantee that a family inheritance will be passed on to the next generation. If they feel the land has more value than the monetary value, your nieces or nephews could also decide to sell it.
. A revocable trust, which can be used to leave the land to your spouse for her entire life, allows you to still make an income from it. Trusts can help avoid probate and lower estate taxes. You, as the grantor, can change the terms of a revocable Trust at any time. An irrevocable trust is, as the name implies, permanent and cannot be modified. You can read about the types of trusts here.
.Linda Farinola of Princeton Financial Group in New Jersey says that trusts make “perfect sense”. A trust gives him the flexibility to name beneficiaries and successor trustees. Your wife can be a partial beneficiary, but she points out that it may be more valuable if the property is part of a larger family plot. Also, even if your wife does not live in Nebraska, it may not make sense for her to manage the land outside of Nebraska.
“‘Ultimately, you want to do what’s best for the land and the people in that area, in addition to honoring your family’s legacy.’“
Ultimately, you want to do what’s best