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Top 5 Things People Rarely Pass Down, But Should


4
Your House
That historic house on the wooded corner lot? Yeah, someone wants to inherit it!
That historic house on the wooded corner lot? Yeah, someone wants to inherit it!
Jupiterimages/Thinkstock

You may assume that most people bequeath their houses if they bother to write up a will. But, in fact, many people try to circumvent the inheritance process by adding their legatees to the property deed.

The idea is that an heir won't have to jump through any legal hoops when the time comes since the house automatically goes to the surviving person on the deed. Actually, the legatee would be much better off if he or she were to receive the house in a will. This is because of a peculiarity in tax laws that consider the house to be a gift. Gifts valued at more than a certain amount are subject to a hefty tax. So, do your descendants a favor and put your house in a trust -- not in their name.