Posted on June 19, 2013 by

Estate Planning Tips for Second Homes

north carolina retirementNorth Carolina coastal properties from Corolla down to Sunset Beach are attractive investment homes that can be rented out during the summer season, used as a winter escape, and eventually a primary retirement home. Western North Carolina’s mountain communities are also growing with vacation properties and second home purchases for migrating retirees.

According to the US Census, in 2000 there were almost 140,000 vacation homes in North Carolina. (Vacation homes are defined as properties that were not primary residences and used infrequently or exclusively for recreational purpose.) Thirty years before, approximately 48,000 vacation homes were maintained in the state. If the numbers continue to rise at this current rate, it is estimated that there will be over 230,000 second homes in North Carolina by 2040. With the number of second homes going up, the potential for estate conflicts and issues will also increase without proper estate planning.
What should individuals who own multiple homes consider when they plan their estate? Here are a few things to discuss with your North Carolina estate planning attorney:
  • Avoid probate in multiple states. Make sure your estate planning lawyer is aware of each piece of real estate you own, how you hold title, where you maintain your primary residence, and if you have plans of establishing residence in another state. If a Will is not prepared in a way to address each of these factors, it could leave your estate vulnerable to probate proceedings in the state where you primarily resided as well as other states where you own secondary properties.
  • Choose a smart way to hold title. Ask your lawyer about the best way for you to hold title for your property in North Carolina. Holding title in a trust and/or LLC may help protect the property as well as you and your heir. Leaving property directly to heirs may cause conflicts. When a property is left to more than one heir, a forced sale may result, which is expensive and often results in an under-market sale.
  • Also consider your beneficiaries. If you own the property with your spouse or partner and you wish to pass the property to your children, consider the effect of survivorship rights. If a property is owned as joint tenants with right of survivorship or tenant by the entirety (between spouses), in the event of your death the property will not pass according to your will or trust, but will immediately be owned in full by the surviving owner. Protect your interests as well as those of your family – contact a North Carolina estate planning lawyer.

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