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Can your adult child inherit your home in a 55+ community?

On Behalf of | Aug 23, 2022 | Estate Planning

As the number of seniors increases, so do the number and variety of 55+ communities. From neighborhoods with single-family homes to luxury high-rise condos, New York has something for everyone who wants to downsize a bit and leave some of the maintenance and other responsibilities of home ownership to others.

As you start to develop your estate plan or maybe make some long-overdue updates, you know that your home is one of your largest assets. Can you leave it to one of your children even if they’re well under the minimum age? Do they want it?

Let’s say that one of your adult children who’s got a few years or more before they hit 55 would like it. Are they allowed to live there?

Review the CC&Rs

To find out, you’ll need to look at the covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&Rs) documents you received when you bought the home. This will address the homeowners’ association (HOA) rules regarding residents under 55 (or other age restrictions).

Many senior communities use the 80/20 rule. It mandates that 80% of the homes be occupied by those 55 and older. That means that your child can live there only if the community is not at capacity for those under 55 when you pass away.

If the adult child who would like to live there has kids, that’s another consideration. Many 55+ communities won’t allow minors. That’s typically to help maintain the quiet atmosphere most seniors are seeking. Children and teens can also drive up insurance rates.

What if your children can’t (or don’t want) to inherit your home?

Some communities don’t allow anyone under 55 to live there. If that’s the case, you’ll need to detail other wishes for your home. Many people designate that their home be sold, and the assets go to the estate before the estate assets are distributed as you designate.

Even if you don’t live in an age-restricted community, it’s wise not to leave your home directly to a child or other family member without discussing it with them first. With sound legal guidance, you can make the best decisions on this and other estate planning matters for your family.