How to leave my grandson property that can never be sold?

Dear Ms. Allison: How do I leave my grandson some property that has been handed down through generations, but can never be sold. I inherited my great grandfather’s land, but it can never be sold, so I don’t know how to pass it on. Anonymous in Pontotoc County

Dear Anonymous:

You do not say why the land cannot be sold, so my only assumption is that it’s a personal preference not a legal requirement. You also don’t say what kind of real property—farm? Ancestral home? Indian land? Answers to these things matter.

The ONLY way to leave real property in a manner that it absolutely cannot be sold is in an irrevocable trust and even then, the trust needs to contain very particular provisions to attempt to enforce that it will not be changed in the future. One example of such a provision is language designed to prevent the decanting (moving) the trust into a different trust that would allow for the sale.

Depending on the property type, you are likely to have to fund the trust with substantial cash as well. The cash is necessary to take care of real estate taxes, insurance, upkeep, trust administration, and the like.

This is a complex trust to create. However, the bottom line is that there is not enough information provided here to give you the very best advice on the issue. You absolutely must see a highly skilled estate planning attorney. There can be serious tax issues as well, so if your estate planning attorney should have tax credentials and a high level of skill in estate tax matters.

This is not a project to do without very skilled legal counsel.

Best Regards,

Gale Allison

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