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What Happens to Adult Children Living at Home When Parents Pass Away?

Posted by Gregory Robinson | May 07, 2024 | 0 Comments

Exploring the Trend of Adult Children Living at Home

Today, more young adults are living at home with their parents than at any time since the 1940s. The rise in young adults residing at home is primarily attributed to financial reasons. This demographic shift has sparked various opinions and discussions about its causes and impacts.

The Legal Implications for Adult Children When Parents Die Unexpectedly

Many adult children plan to move out eventually. However, if their parents pass away before this transition occurs without a clear estate plan addressing the adult child's living situation, it can lead to significant legal complications. This situation highlights the importance of having a well-thought-out estate plan that includes provisions for adult children still living at home.

The Importance of Regularly Updating Estate Plans

It is advisable for estate plans to be reviewed and updated every 3 to 5 years, especially if there have been significant life changes such as an adult child returning home. This ensures that all arrangements reflect the current wishes of the estate holders, potentially preventing future disputes and legal hurdles.

Statistical Insight: Nearly Half of Young Adults Still Live at Home

The economic difficulties of recent years are illustrated by the significant number of young adults who continue to live with their parents. A Harris Poll conducted for Bloomberg reports that approximately 23 million—or 45 percent—of 18-to-29-year-olds are currently living at home, marking the highest level since the post-Depression era.

Economic Factors Contributing to This Phenomenon:

  • High inflation and the rising cost of living
  • Lasting effects of pandemic lockdowns
  • Mounting student loan debt
  • Unaffordable housing market
  • Uncertain job prospects

The primary reasons young adults choose to stay home include:

  • Saving money (41%)
  • Inability to afford independent living (30%)
  • Debt reduction (19%)
  • Recovering from financial emergencies (16%)
  • Job loss recovery (10%)

Debate Over Financial Contributions: Should Parents Charge Rent?

Opinions are divided on whether parents should charge rent to adult children living at home. Surveys by Newsweek and Lending Tree show that a significant majority of U.S. adults believe parents should charge rent to help promote financial independence and responsibility among adult children.

Estate Planning Considerations for 'Boomerang' Children

The trend of adult children returning to or never leaving the family home, often referred to as 'boomerang kids', necessitates specific considerations in estate planning.

Incorporating an Adult Child into Home Ownership

There are several reasons an adult child might move back home, from financial struggles to caring for older family members. Options for integrating an adult child into the home's title include:

  • Joint ownership with right of survivorship: Ensures the property automatically passes to the adult child outside of probate.
  • Tenants-in-common arrangement: The parent's share of the property is transferred as specified in their will through probate.
  • Life estate: The parent retains the right to live in the property during their lifetime, with the home passing to the designated remainderman (adult child) upon their death.

Tailored Estate Planning for Every Family

Multigenerational living arrangements are becoming more common, and while they reduce the stigma associated with adult children living at home, they also introduce potential challenges. It's essential for estate plans to consider the unique dynamics of each family to minimize conflicts and ensure fair treatment.

Conclusion: Secure Your Family's Future with Proper Estate Planning

Regardless of your family's specific situation, careful planning is crucial to clearly communicate your intentions, ensure your loved ones are well taken care of, and minimize potential conflicts and estate taxes. Contact our office today to create or update your estate plan tailored to your unique family needs.

About the Author

Gregory Robinson

Attorney Gregory Robinson is a native of Alabama. He earned his Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree from Mitchell Hamline School of Law and holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree from Rice University. Prior to practicing law, he worked as a strategy consultant in the financial industry...


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