What to Do If You Inherit an Old House

All in the Family

If you're one of several heirs to the same house, you're going to need to hold a summit before proceeding. Everyone's emotions about the house need to be assessed and dealt with before any business begins. Differences about an inheritance can cause bad blood between even the closest of relatives. These sticky matters can hold up negotiations and decision making, so it's best to get them out of the way first. If one heir wants to buy the house and the others want to sell it, there's always the option of coming up with the money yourself and buying the others out of their share. If you decide as a group to keep it for rental income, you'll essentially be going into business together. So you'll want to consult a lawyer and set up a limited liability company (LLC). This will legally define every member's percentage of ownership in the house, which will help when it comes time to split up income or proceeds from a sale. It's always good to have a lawyer on retainer to help deal with the legalities of group inheritance.