What can we do if our home is very special and we would like our Will to stipulate that ownership may only be in the name of a blood relative for a period of 40 years?

UPDATED: Apr 8, 2015

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What can we do if our home is very special and we would like our Will to stipulate that ownership may only be in the name of a blood relative for a period of 40 years?

If an owner must liquidate it for legal reasons such as divorce or death, it must be sold to a blood relative for no more than the tax-accessed price. Would such a stipulation be legally binding?

Asked on April 8, 2015 under Estate Planning, Pennsylvania


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

Legally, you could put that condition into your will, but practically, it's probably unenforceable:

1) There is no government agency in charge of enforcing terms and conditions like those, so if in the future, the person who inherits the house sells it to a non-blood relative, who will bring a lawsuit to enforce it?

2) Even if someone else--some other blood relative--discovered after the fact that the home was sold to a non-relative and sues, the court will NOT take the home from a good faith buyer (someone who paid good money for the home without knowledge of the issue); at most, the court will impose some monetary judgment against the relative who sold it.

3) What if no blood relative wants to buy the home?

There may be other ways to get to where you want: putting the home in a trust, with a sum of money to maintain it, and the trustee having the duty of leasing it at an advantageous price to blood relatives only; or giving relative one a "life estate" to live there, but the home then goes to relative 2 or some defined descendent. Those other techniques can get very complicated, so if you want to explore this, consult with a trusts and estates attorney in detail.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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