Over the course of the past two decades, an increasing number of people – including men and women in Southern California – have elected to reside in their parents’ home after their parents have passed on. If you are contemplating such an idea, there are a number of considerations that you need to bear in mind. These include personal and legal issues that require your attention.

The Emotional Aspects of Living in Your Parent’s Home

As you think about the prospect of moving into your parents’ home after they pass on, you need to brace yourself for some emotional issues that oftentimes accompany moving into a residence under these circumstances. This particularly is the case if you parents’ residence is the same home in which you were raised.

A good many counselors and therapists suggest making at least some changes in a residence once occupied by parents following their deaths and when a child moves in. This does not mean that you have to completely remake every aspect of the residence. But, you must take the initiative to leave your own stamp on the home. You can do this by retaining some items that belonged to your parents. Nonetheless, failing to make at least some suitable changes to the residence can end up leaving you in something of an emotional trap going forward.

As an aside, if you and your parents have discussed the idea of you living in the residence after they pass away, there is something you truly must avoid. Do not spend time visiting with your parents about the changes you’ll make to the home after they are gone. There are so many different reasons why this is inappropriate they simply cannot all be listed in this article.

Should You Move into Your Parents’ Home After One Parent Dies?

Odds are your parents will not die simultaneously. Thus, when you have a parent pass on, you may be faced with the prospect of possibly moving into your parents’ home with the surviving parent. There may be some solid reasons for making such a decision.

For example, your surviving parent may have some health issues that suggest the need of having someone living in the residence with him or her. If that is the case, you do need to fully understand the responsibility you take on when you move in with a parent who has some health issues and demands.

You may be at a position in your own life at which you need to find a way to pare down your own living expenses. One way to do that may be to move into your surviving parent’s residence to save money in the process. As a bit of advice, you need to be sure that you shoulder your share of the bills and responsibilities for caring for the home. A sure way to damage an otherwise decent relationship with a parent is to become something of a freeloader in that parent’s home.

Avoiding the Probate Process

Estate planners universally recommend that a person is wise to avoid the time and expense of the probate process whenever possible. The reality is that your parents’ home very well may be their most significant asset. Thus, unless some proactive estate planning is undertaken, the residence will become subject to the probate process even if you are the person designated to reside in the property upon the death of both of your parents.

There are two proactive courses of action your parents can consider taking if they desire to have their home pass you upon their deaths, whether you elect to live in the residence personally or not. The first tactic is to establish a suitable trust and place the home in that trust. With the establishment of a trust, upon your parents’ deaths, you would become the beneficiary of that trust. Thus, you would be able to enjoy the benefits of the trust, including your parents’ home.

The second course of action your parents can consider taking is to rework the current way in which the residence is owned. Odds are that your parents’ residence is in their names jointly.

California allow permits your parents the ability to execute a new real estate deed for the residence. Under the terms of the new deed you and your parents are listed as the owners of the real estate with what is known as joint tenants with a right of survivorship. In other words, you and your parents legally and technically own the residence together. When one of the trio passes away, the ownership interest carries forth with the remaining to individuals. When another individual dies, the remaining family member becomes the surviving owner of the real estate.

Through the creation of this type of deed with a right of survivorship, assuming you do outlive your parents, you automatically will become the sole owner of the residence. There is no need to undertake the probate process to transfer ownership of the residence to you.

Establishing a trust or adjusting the current manner in which a residence is titled can prove to be challenging legal issues. Thus, you need to seriously consider retaining the services of a capable, reputable attorney who can assist you and your parents in making appropriate decisions regarding when and how title to the residence will pass to you.

The State Bar of California maintains a lawyer referral service that can assist you in finding appropriate legal assistance. You can access attorneys in Southern California through this link.

Dealing with Clutter or Even a Hoarding Situation

Parents aren’t perfect. Your parents may depart this planet leaving behind a good amount of clutter in their home. In the aftermath of the passing of a parent, facing the prospect of taking on a home with a clutter let alone a hoarding issue can be challenging.

Facing a situation involving significant clutter or hoarding in the aftermath of the death of parents can prove to be emotionally overwhelming. While you need to be involved in the process of dealing with determining what to do with items accumulated in your parents’ home, you don’t need to struggle through the process of restoring order to a residence on your own. There are professionals who can assist you with such an undertaking.

An Unattended Death

In the hustle and bustle that is the 21st century, families can end up spread apart all across the country, even the world. Even with the high-tech means of staying connected, it is not uncommon for family members to go days or even a week or two without visiting.

The reality is that despite the best intentions, situations occur when a person will die alone in his or her home and that death may not immediately be discovered. While great detail is unnecessary, suffice to say that a deceased person left alone for more than a couple of days can result in a challenging situation.

A person who faces a situation in which a family member, including a parent, has died alone – and that death is not immediately discovered – is highly likely to experience a tremendous amount of grief and guilt.

This is perfectly understandable considering the situation. What doesn’t have to be done – and what should be avoided whenever possible – is an aggravation of the situation.

If the plan is for you to move into your parents’ home, and your last surviving parent passed on alone and the death was not immediately discovered, you need to be well aware that you do not have to take on the task of cleaning up the residence on your own. Indeed, unnecessarily accepting such a task will necessarily aggravate the level of grief and guilt you would already face in such a situation.

The engagement of a professional unattended death cleanup professional is vital. The goal is to be sure that any trace of the death of a parent is eliminated from the property. The failure to accomplish this level of remediation can result in a residence never fully feeling or being livable for a family member that ends up residing in the premises.


With proactive planning, and open communication with your parents while they are living, the idea of you residing in their home after they die can be a workable and even wise course of action. A key to making this succeed if to recognize that there may be some challenges associated with the process of taking ownership of and moving into your parents’ home after they are gone. Oftentimes, the best way to meet these challenges is to recognize the need to retain the assistance of qualified professionals.