A mobile home is a surprisingly complex asset

Natalia Vander Laan

Natalia Vander Laan

Mobile homes are a popular choice for homeowners looking for affordable housing. However, like any other assets, mobile homes are subject to estate planning considerations and when it comes to passing a mobile home to intended beneficiaries upon death, the process can be complex and confusing.

In certain circumstances, mobile homes have been converted to real property and are subject to the same legal rules and regulations as traditional homes. Otherwise, mobile homes are not considered real property, but instead personal property. This means that they are subject to different legal rules and regulations than traditional homes and real estate.

One way to ensure easy transfer of ownership of a mobile home is to create a trust. By transferring ownership of the mobile home to a trust, the trust becomes the legal owner of the mobile home. When the mobile homeowner passes away, the trustee will pass the property to the designated beneficiaries according to the terms of the trust. This method can offer several advantages, including avoiding the probate process and providing privacy for the family.

If a trust is not an option, the mobile homeowner should consider drafting a will. A will is a legal document that outlines how a person’s assets should be distributed upon their death. In the case of a mobile home, the will should clearly specify who the beneficiaries are and how ownership of the home should be transferred to them. The will can ensure the desired beneficiary of the mobile home but will not avoid the often costly and time-consuming probate.

Both methods for passing a mobile home to beneficiaries have their own advantages and disadvantages, and it is essential to consider the specific circumstances and needs of the family before making a decision. For example, if there are liens or if the mobile home is part of a community or park, there may be regulations and requirements that need to be followed, and a trust may not be feasible.

However, it is important to note that if the owner of the mobile home has outstanding debts, liabilities, or taxes, these may need to be paid off before the beneficiaries can take possession of the property. In some cases, the sale of the mobile home may be required to pay off these debts.

Typically, specific paperwork must be filed with the Manufactured Housing Division to transfer ownership of a mobile home. This may include a transfer of ownership form or a certificate of title. It is important to check the laws in the state where the mobile home is located to ensure that all necessary paperwork is completed.

In addition to the legal considerations involved in passing a mobile home to beneficiaries, there are also practical steps that need to be taken to ensure a smooth transition. For example, it is essential to have the mobile home appraised to determine its value, and to ensure that it is properly maintained and insured.

Passing a mobile home to beneficiaries upon death can be a challenging process, but with proper planning and legal assistance, it can be done efficiently and effectively. Completing one’s estate plan is an important step to ensuring that the assets are protected and bequeathed to those of one’s choosing.

Natalia Vander Laan is a Minden attorney.


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