Inheritance is tricky, and you all had a lot to say!
I’m Michelle Singletary, personal finance columnist here at The Washington Post, and estate planning is not just about the finances at play but also emotions. In a recent column, “Our kids don’t want our paid-off house — or our ashes,” I discussed the initial heartbreak my husband and I experienced when our children told us they did not want to inherit our home.
One reader wrote: “This exact situation just landed in my lap this week. My parents both died within months of each other, and after years of adamantly refusing their house, I have realized it’s best to move into it myself. I’m the eldest and executor. Their house is twice the size of mine and both houses are paid off. My sister wants the ‘family homestead’ to remain intact so she can store stuff there and stay when she’s not traveling in Europe (her lifelong dream). Her house is also paid off, so no mortgage issues. My hitch is figuring out if I will have enough income for the upkeep. If I do, that’s the plan. It’s going to be a tremendous, drawn-out transition to move and sell my house, but it keeps the most valuable asset in the family. PS: My parents’ ashes are heading to the ocean for scattering. They were good with that.”
On Nov. 20, I continued the conversation to answer your questions. The main takeaway here: Make a plan now.
Below is a transcript detailing answers. Questions may have been edited for clarity.