One of the goals in estate planning when one spouse moves into the home of another spouse, is to ensure that if the owner spouse dies first, the new spouse will be permitted to remain in the home, while preserving the value of the home for the owner spouse’s children. It’s not always an easy situation to resolve, according to an article in the Times Herald-Record, titled “How to preserve your home’s value when remarrying,” but with good planning and an estate plan, it can be done.
With poor planning, your assets could go to your second spouse and then, to his or her own children, leaving your own children empty-handed.
A common approach is to leave the surviving spouse the right to use and occupy the residence, with a provision in a trust or a will that the surviving spouse pays taxes and home insurance costs and maintains the house. The right to live in the house can be for a limited number of months or years or until they pass away or enter a care facility. When the surviving spouse dies, or the time limit is reached, he or she leaves the house, the house is sold and the proceeds are divided among the children of the owner’s spouse.
There are other ways to provide more flexibility to the surviving spouse. If the house is too large or expensive to maintain, he or she may be given the right to use and occupy a substituted property, which may be purchased with the proceeds from the owner spouses’ home. Another arrangement allows the owner spouse’s home to be sold with the surviving spouse using the income from the proceeds of the sale of the house to pay for a rental. When the surviving spouse dies (or when the term expires), the children of the first spouse inherit what is left.
I have handled a case where the surviving spouse is allowed to continue to reside in the house until he dies. However, certain conditions need to be met. For instance, the surviving spouse can reside in the residence as long as he remains single and does not bring any female companion to stay in the residence overnight.
A few important things to consider: how well the surviving spouse will be able to maintain the house, either for financial or physical reasons. If the surviving spouse is not taking care of the house and it falls into disrepair, the children may have to file an eviction proceeding. If the trust or will does not specifically instruct the surviving spouse to pay for home maintenance, the children of the owner spouse would be responsible for those costs, and depending on how long the surviving spouse lives, that could be a large burden for a long period of time.
This situation requires thoughtful planning, with many “what if’s” to be asked. An experienced estate planning attorney, who has worked with second marriages and home ownership issues, will be able to provide an objective view of the issues and the solutions.
In addition, bringing family members in for a meeting to discuss the situation, may go along way to prevent, or at least attempt to prevent, larger issues in the future.
Reference: Times Herald-Record (Sep. 22, 2018) “How to preserve your home’s value when remarrying”
資產規劃的目標之一是當其中一方搬進配偶的家中時,確保如擁有業權的配偶先去世，新配偶將被允許繼續住在家中，同時為去世配偶的子女保留房屋的價值。然而要解決這個問題並不是一件容易的事。根據“Times Herald-Record”中的一篇題為“How to preserve your home’s value when remarrying,”，如果有良好的規劃和資產計劃，就可以做到。
參考: Times Herald-Record (Sep. 22, 2018) “How to preserve your home’s value when remarrying”