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Prevent beneficiaries from fighting over second homes

It is not uncommon for Texas retirees to own a second home or vacation cabin where they spend part of the year. Even if they do not visit the family cabin very often, it may be that their sons or daughters enjoy the space with their own families at different times of the year. Second homes like this could become a source of discord among beneficiaries after death, so it is important for Texas residents to make arrangements for multiple properties in their estate plans.

Granted, it will not be a very complicated undertaking for an estate to liquidate a second home and split the proceeds among beneficiaries. However, if the home is being shared and regularly used by multiple beneficiaries of the estate, some or all of the beneficiaries may want to keep the property in the family. This is when problems can arise, especially if one family member who does not use the property wants to sell it and another family member does not.

An argument over a piece of property could exacerbate old family wounds and serve to divide one’s family. It could also cause an otherwise well-planned estate to go directly into costly, time-consuming and stressful probate litigation. For these reasons, it is preferable not to let beneficiaries try to figure out the issue, but rather to resolve the issue for them ahead of time.

One solution to the above-described dilemma might involve the liquidation of the property, rather than letting the estate take care of the problem piece of real estate. Another equally workable solution might involve sitting the family members down and discussing the issue with them. Perhaps one family member wants the home and another one does not. If such is the case, then provisions could be placed in the will to balance out the inheritances of the beneficiaries. Texas residents can learn more about this issue and other possible solutions by consulting with a qualified estate planning attorney.

Source:, “Consider estate plan for second home“, Rick Bloom, Dec. 22, 2014