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The Bellomo Name

Growing up Italian is something I am very proud of. I love my family with all of my heart. The last name Bellomo means the world to me. I can see my Grandpa Bellomo in my head like it was yesterday saying our last name “Bellomo” like it was worth a million dollars. That sense of pride has certainly continued down through my parents as well. My parents gave me this poem when I was just a kid. I cherished that plaque and still keep it in a safe place these many years later. I hope you’ll agree that this gift is among your most valuable.

Your Family Name – by Nelle A. Williams

You got it from your father
It was all he had to give
So it’s yours to use and cherish
For as long as you may live

If you lost the watch he gave you
It can always be replaced
But a black mark on your name
Can never be erased

It was clean the day you took it
And a worthy name to bear
When he got it from his father
There was no dishonor there

So make sure you guard it wisely
After all is said and done
You’ll be glad the name is spotless
When you give it to your son

I cherish the plaque with this poem. Thank you, Mom and Dad, for sharing this with me. I am proud of the Bellomo name and what it means.

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Handing Down the Family Home: A Potentially Dangerous Gesture / York, PA

MP900430804It may seem like a great idea: Parents, either because they want to help their kids out, or to reduce the taxable value of their estate, decide to transfer ownership of their home to their kids. Well, it may seem like a great idea. But it often isn't.

Giving the family home to your heirs early? Take great care! This is too important a gift to get wrong, and it’s too easy to do just that.

This challenge was the subject of recent article in The Wall Street Journal titled the “Dangers of Giving Your Home to Your Children.

The family home is often the most important gift you could ever give to an adult child or your adult children. It is meaningful simply by right of being the family home and its place in the family history. When given to a young couple it is also a gift of the future, and a very practical one if you don’t need the space anymore or just wish to downsize.

Nevertheless, houses are as complex as they are valuable when considered as assets and potential tax burdens. Giving the house away early means moving a taxable asset around, and doing so at different times and in different ways will bring different tax burdens. These issues include weighing the consequences of a lifetime gift versus as a testamentary bequest. In the end, you need to fit the house into your overall plan, and carefully at that.

Then there is even more to the financial side and the darker side of liability. A house as an asset is a magnet for creditors, divorce proceedings, and all manners of scaly legal problems that make claim or foreclose upon the house under the name of a younger, less financially stable, adult child. Giving it to them to live in forever might end up risking it to creditors, and if you intend to stay living there that means putting you out too.

And what about control? Not all family problems work themselves out, after all. It is now up to the kids to keep or sell the house, even against your wishes and, again, even to evict you right out onto the curb if you intend to still live there.

So, do appreciate the house and the gift of it to your loved ones. At the same time, however, also appreciate it as a difficult transition fraught with potential issues to guard against. Once you appreciate the issues you can appreciate the solutions, and depending upon the house, your heirs, and your own needs there are many powerful solutions at your disposal.

For more information about transfer of ownerships, please visit my estate planning website.

Reference: The Wall Street Journal (April 13, 2014) “Dangers of Giving Your Home to Your Children

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