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How Unmarried Couples Transfer Property: Who Gets Barbie’s Dream House?

By admin
26 Oct 2023
IHT & Estate Planning

Who Gets Barbie’s Dream House? How Unmarried Couples Transfer Property

I’m a Barbie girl… what happens when I no longer live in a Barbie World?

By now, unless you have been hiding under a rock, you would have heard about the Barbie movie. In this cinematic adventure, Barbie lays claim to the iconic Dream House, but a twist of fate unfolds as Ken swoops in and rebrands it as his very own “Mojo Dojo Casa House.”

But if Barbie wanted to leave Ken her dream house after her death, she could do it in a few ways. This article explains how to transfer real property to unmarried partners through a will and other estate planning tools

Transfer Property Option 1: Barbie can leave Ken the Dream House in her will

The most straightforward option would be for Barbie to grant Ken the Dream House via a Specific Legacy included in her will. This arrangement would provide Ken with a place to live while allowing the remainder of Barbie’s estate to go to her children. Nevertheless, it’s essential to acknowledge that once Ken inherits the Dream House, he gains full control over it. This implies he could decide to leave it to Barbie’s children or even entirely different beneficiaries. In essence, Barbie would need to place absolute trust in Ken to pass on the property to her children upon his own demise, regardless of any future relationships or potential disputes with Barbie’s children. Given this inflexibility and considering Ken’s recent behaviour, there may be more favourable alternatives for Barbie to contemplate.

Transfer Property Option 2: Extend Ken a Right of Occupation during his transition

If Barbie wishes to grant Ken ample time to secure a new residence, she could include a provision in her will that grants him a Right of Occupation in the Dream House for a defined period after her passing. This ensures that Ken won’t find himself homeless immediately upon Barbie’s demise. Once this designated period concludes, Ken must vacate the property, allowing Barbie’s children to benefit as the designated beneficiaries. In this scenario, Barbie can rest assured that her children will inherit the Dream House within a specified timeframe following her death.

Transfer Property Option 3: Establish a Life Interest Trust for Ken

Suppose Barbie wants to provide for Ken throughout his lifetime while safeguarding the Dream House (or the proceeds from a potential sale) for her children. In that case, she might explore the possibility of establishing a Life Interest Trust. Under this arrangement, Ken would have the opportunity to reside in the Dream House for the remainder of his life. Additionally, provisions could be made for Ken to request downsizing or the sale of the property, with any surplus capital invested. This would generate an income for Ken, derived from the trust, for the duration of his life. If Barbie also desires the trustees to consider advancing some capital to Ken (if capital exists within the life interest trust), provisions can be included for this purpose.

Barbie can also place limitations on the Life Interest Trust. For instance, if you recall the blockbuster film (or perhaps your childhood!), Ken had a buddy named Allan. Suppose, after Barbie’s passing, Ken and Allan form a relationship and wish to cohabitate. In that case, Barbie’s will trust can stipulate that if Ken remarries or cohabits with another partner, the Life Interest Trust will terminate.

Irrespective of downsizing, property sales, or trust closures, the ultimate outcome ensures that the capital (or the Dream House itself) remains safeguarded for Barbie’s children, who will inherit the value (or the Dream House) upon the conclusion of the Life Interest Trust, either upon Ken’s passing or sooner.

Transfer Property Option 4: Place the entire estate into a Discretionary Trust

Predicting the exact circumstances surrounding ones demise, particularly concerning the estate and relationships, can be a daunting task. In this vein, Barbie could opt to place her entire estate into a Discretionary Trust, accompanied by a meticulously detailed letter of wishes outlining her preferences, including the aforementioned options in various scenarios.

By establishing a Discretionary Trust upon her passing, Barbie can find solace in knowing that the distribution of her estate, encompassing the Dream House, can be adapted to suit the circumstances, guided by her trustees, as per her expressed wishes.

What Does This Mean for You?

This article provides a glimpse into some of the transfer property options available to Barbie, but it’s by no means an exhaustive list. It also lacks the depth required for you to pinpoint the best option for your unique circumstances. However, if Barbie’s situation resonates with your own or if you simply wish to explore your estate planning choices, we’d be delighted to connect you with one of our specialised tax advisers – please reach out to the team here . They can assist you in crafting a tailored plan for your estate and its future.

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Further notes on the transfer property between Barbie and Ken

For the purpose of this article we need to assume the following:

  • Barbie hasn’t taken the time to craft a will.
  • Barbie acquired the Dream House independently, with no financial aid from Ken.
  • Barbie has children from a prior relationship.
  • Ken cohabits with Barbie and her children in the Dream House.

Barbie and Ken share a partnership but haven’t officially tied the knot or entered into a civil partnership

Looking to transfer property to your partner? look no further than Edge Tax as your tax advisers.

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