Sharing real estate with multiple family members and between generations can be tricky. It’s why most professional advisers recommend selling it off rather than trying to keep shared land in the family.
Selling may be the right decision, but for families who are unclear, it’s always worth asking the question, “should we try to keep it?” Scheduling, financial management, issues of fairness and the long list of other complications aside, shared family property provides opportunities to build relationships, appreciate the natural world, create lasting shared memories. They can be a strong grounding force for family members – a constant throughout a lifetime of transition.
Our view is that it’s worth a conversation to determine if there is interest, a willingness to participate, and a long term desire to maintain the property. And if the desire is there, then it’s time to investigate if there is a structure and sustainable financial arrangement to support the entity.
A decision to sell can also provide great opportunity. The most obvious one is money. But if there is sufficient family wealth to provide comfortably for everyone, using the land for public benefit may be a perfect expression of family legacy. In addition to the tax benefits, preserving the land for public use or giving it to a local organization to expand their capacity are two examples that should be explored.
Think about what your place means to you. Can you imagine your grandchildren watching their kids play as they look out over the same landscape? Then it’s worth planning for it.