In recent times, having multiple adult generations of a family living together under one roof has become an increasingly common thing among American families. There are many things that could lead to multiple generations deciding to live together. Some examples include: a desire to cut costs, an adult child moving back in with the parents due to difficulties in the job market or a person having a parent move back in with them for care-related reasons.
Between 1980 and 2012, the number of individuals living in households that contained multiple adult generations of a family doubled, according to a Pew Research study. Of all home purchases made last year, around 13 percent were made by a multigenerational household, a National Association of Realtors report estimates.
Thus, owning a multigenerational home is not uncommon for U.S. homeowners. Some home companies have even begun creating properties specifically designed to house multiple generations and address the unique living-space concerns that can arise for multigenerational households.
Multigenerational homes not only can raise unique concerns living-space-wise, they can also raise unique estate planning concerns.
In a multigenerational home, many people can end up depending on the home and having strong emotional attachments to the home. Thus, if the homeowner dies without setting up a clear plan regarding the property, it could be setting the stage for some significant turmoil among the surviving family members during the probate process.
Consequently, it can be important for owners of a multigenerational home to properly account for the home in their estate planning. Many things can impact what the best way to address a multigenerational home in an estate plan is, including: a person's family situation, the exact ownership situation regarding the home and the overall financial situation of a person and their family. Estate planning attorneys can help individuals with the unique estate planning issues raised by multigenerational homes and other types of real estate.
Source: The Washington Post, "Demand rises for properties that can house more than one generation," Michele Lerner, Sept. 30, 2015