With rising house prices and the pandemic wreaking havoc on people’s finances more and more adult children are remaining at home with the parents. While this solves problems with immediate financial burdens it could be potentially setting up a conflict with other siblings over future ownership of the family home.
Grown-up children may have sound practical or financial reasons to stay, including shielding during the pandemic, caring for infirm parents, or being unable to afford a place of their own in an expensive part of the country.
Planning is the key and parents with both adult children living at home and elsewhere therefore need to think about their wills and make arrangements with how the property should be dealt with after their passing or they may risk protracted legal battles between siblings. Once the arrangements have been made in the will it is also best to make the family aware of the plans in advance to avoid the risk of misunderstandings in the future.
Very often grown-up children who have lived at home for much of their adult lives often believe they will either be entitled to continue living there after their parents have gone or be entitled to more from their parents’ estates than their siblings. This can then result in disputes with siblings who are not living at the property who are understandable keen to sell the property to release their inheritance.
How can parents avoid future strife over the family home?
Have discussions with family members to ensure all understand their intentions with the property. They need to make a will to record their wishes. Talking things over with all the siblings so they know what the will states means there will be clear instructions once you are gone.
What if you are an adult child living at home?
There may be occupational rights acquired which may be invoked. If you can discuss a will with your parents and perhaps ask them to include something in the will giving you rights to reside in the home. This can cause conflict with the siblings that don’t live at home but if things are prepared and the parents let the other siblings know their wishes, this could avoid difficult discussions later.
What if your adult sibling is left a life interest in the family home?
This should be discussed with all family members to avoid conflict. If a life interest is bequeathed and other family members are unhappy, the Will can be challenged in certain circumstances.