Considerations When Inheriting a House

Inheriting property is commonplace. Your parents or other family member may have left you a home or a piece of land in their Will. Now that you own this new place, what are the right steps to ensure that everything is properly taken care of?

Talk to a tax professional. 

The best thing you can do is learn about the tax issues that come along with taking possession of the home. You may owe property tax. If you decide to lease the property to someone else, the rental payments will influence your income taxes. How you received the property may also affect your cost basis in the new asset. A professional can help you understand important tax details. 

Is the house paid for or did you inherit a mortgage? 

There will be significant differences in the legal implications if the home has a mortgage. If you are related, chances are you will be able to assume the mortgage, but if you inherit a house from an individual to whom you are not related, there are multiple steps that need to be taken. 

Talk to family members about options. 

The death of a loved one can be intensely stressful and emotions sometimes get the better of people involved. If you have children, it is best to discuss your intentions regarding the home with them. Will one of the children want to buy out the others? Do you want to give a child a right of first refusal? Will you leave the home to a child? Should you put a direction to sell in your Will? These are things to consider when there is real estate to be passed on after death.

Have the house thoroughly inspected and properly insured.

You would not buy a home without an inspection, so do not automatically assume the risk of a family home without the same protection. You may find it needs major repairs and it is easier to sell the home and buy something in better shape. You want to know as much as you can about the structure and systems in the property as possible. A home inspector can assist you with this. Also, be sure that you have the property insured. You would not want to suffer a loss while the property is not insured.

Do you have questions?

Count on your experienced team at Ericson, Scalise & Mangan, PC to provide you with sound guidance for your Estate Planning, Elder Law, Real Estate, Probate, Trust & Estate Administration, and other legal needs. For assistance, contact us today at (860) 229-0369, or email us at

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