Time to move your house into trust territory - Mary Holm

Monday 23 February 2004

Q. If a house is left in a will to two children and they sell the house and divide the proceeds, can a proviso be included in the will to say that they must use the money in a particular way?

By The Landlord

A. In most cases, "if a proviso is professionally and specifically drafted to cover the wishes of the deceased, then the answer is yes," says Kevin Peacock, Public Trust's general manager, estate and financial planning. In other words, see a lawyer or the Public Trust.

It's possible, though, that the courts could overturn the proviso after you die, he adds. You could give yourself more control by setting up a family trust.

If you want your house to be protected by the trust, you lend the trust the money to buy the house at market value. You can then forgive the debt at the rate of $27,000 a year - or $54,000 for a couple - without paying gift duty.

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