AARP Bulletin Quotes Wendy Goffe in Article on Avoiding Disputes in Passing a Home to Family

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Attorney Wendy Goffe was quoted in AARP Bulletin in an article titled “Keeping a Vacation Home in Your Family.” The article discusses tips for siblings dividing an inherited home, whether a primary residence or a vacation cottage, and offers steps to take to avoid disputes over the fate of the property.

Harmony in shared ownership is possible, but in many cases the process results in conflicts over money, ownership, use of the property and other factors, in some cases even leading to lawsuits. The author provides a checklist of considerations, including:

  • Make the decision if you want to sell or keep the property.
  • For shared ownership, draw up legal documents with professional advice to prepare for the future.
  • Put management issues, such as how the property is used and how expenses are paid, in writing.
  • Establish guidelines for passing on ownership.
  • Determine details for how co-owners can opt out of their share.

Even with these guidelines, disputes can occur, and though they can be over such areas as the monetary terms of the sale of the property, they can also be more personal in nature, according to Goffe. "One owner objects to something the other owner is doing and wants to get out. One may be smoking or bringing dogs, or even peanut butter, into the house when the other is allergic to smoke, dogs or peanut butter," she said. "If they can't agree on minor things, it's very hard to work out big issues, like replacing the roof."

Read “Keeping a Vacation Home in Your Family,” published March 2, 2016.

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