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Can a younger family member inherit your home in a 55+ community?

On Behalf of | Dec 27, 2022 | Estate Planning

More and more people are moving into senior communities as they get older. These communities, which typically have a minimum 55 years of age, offer the benefits of homeownership, including having your own place with a yard and some space between you and your neighbors. However, things like lawn care and even cleaning and repair services are provided by the homeowners’ association (HOA) as part of the price of living there. More exclusive communities, particularly those in warmer areas like Georgia, have golf courses and myriad other outdoor activities.

A home in one of these communities, however, can bring challenges when determining what should happen to it after you pass away. You may simply designate that it be sold and the proceeds returned to your estate for distribution to your beneficiaries. 

What if you have an adult child who would be happy to live there, but they’re well under that minimum age requirement? Can they live there if they inherit the home? It depends.

Look at the community’s rules

It all depends on what the community’s rules say. Typically known as the covenants, conditions and restrictions (CC&Rs), these should say whether someone can move into the community if they don’t meet the age requirement.

Many age-restricted communities have an “80/20” rule when it comes to age. That means that no less than 80% of homeowners must meet the minimum age requirement. Whether a younger family member can take possession of your home and live there will depend on the age of others in the community at the time. Of course, there’s no way to know what that will be as you develop your estate plan.

Some communities, on the other hand, require that all owners and residents meet the minimum age requirement. People move there, after all, in part to be around others in their generation. If that’s the case, you’re probably not going to get them to make an exception.

Your home is likely the single largest physical asset in your estate plan. You don’t want to leave anything to chance as you decide how you want it handled. Having experienced legal guidance can help you get the answers you need.