Land is a scarce and precious resource
One of the greatest ways to empower or to enrich yourself is through the ownership of land and there are many people in the Turks and Caicos Islands that have access to land through generation property.
Unfortunately, generation property can also lead to a lot of fighting and creating enemies among family members and that is why it is important for families to deal with the distribution of generation property effectively and fairly.
Create a will
Many persons have died without a will. As a result, there are so many issues with the distribution of the estate. In fact, sometimes there is no distribution, and the property remains in the same state for years and more generations die without the distribution.
Of course, there are persons who have left a will and despite the will, some family members object to the will and even may try to change the will. However, if you feel that the will was tampered or the will was not done by the individual in sound mind, you can contest the will.
I encourage everyone to create a will. A will sets the desires of an individual on the distribution of their estate. Ensure that the will is signed by two witnesses and is filed with Deeds of Register. However, you do not have to file it, however, it is best to do so to avoid any tampering.
If a will is not done, then a family can apply to the judge to be an administrator of the estate. An administrator does not mean that you are entitled to the estate, you are just the administrator. In addition, not because you are the oldest child or sibling means that you must get the lion’s share. Always ask yourself if your parents or grandparents were alive, how do you think they would want their estate to be distributed.
Sharing of property
If there is no will, I believe the generation property should be share equally among family members. Sometimes, children that are considered “outside children” are left out but whether a child is a step child or not, that child is the child of that parent and should have access to the estate. If they are not granted, then that child should file a petition to the court to get something from the estate especially if that child is registered in the name of the parent.
Now sometimes, one of the parents may have gotten married and the children may not want that surviving spouse to get anything, however, that wife or husband should be entitled to something. I believe the laws of the Turks and Caicos allow the spouse to get 50% of the estate.
Sometimes the surviving spouse also does not want the children to get anything especially if the children are from different women. No child should be deprived of anything from their parents whether they were close or not.
If the property is jointly owned by two parents and one of the parents has other children by another woman, then the property may not be shared equally among the children because it involves both parents. However, if the property is owned just by one parent then the children should participate equally.
Sale of property
Some family members sell the generation property. Sometimes this may be a good approach if an agreement can take place on the distribution of the property. However, I caution to be very careful about selling the generation property. If you plan to sell the property, make sure you get the property appraised and sell it at or above the value.
If you sell the property, share the proceeds equally among the family members. I further recommend if the property involves a lot of acreage, don’t sell all of the property. Please reserve some of your property because land is a scarce and precious resource and by the time your children and grandchildren become adults and want to purchase land, it will be very expensive and not affordable for them to purchase.
Develop the property
I have seen so many family members sold their generation property for as little as nothing and they have no cash or anything to show for the property they inherited. Furthermore, I have seen some of these individuals building incomplete and shacks on some of these properties. Of course, some individuals have also built some great homes.
I believe though that families should come together and develop the property by building a housing complex comprising of houses, apartments and condominiums. The family can sell some of these and they can also rent some of these.
The distribution of generation property should not be taken lightly. It is important that family come together and have a discussion about the property especially if there is no will.
I know many people want money but be very careful in selling the generation property. If you are going to sell, make sure you have enough money to buy more land or a house. Land does not depreciate and so you need to know how important land is.
Please do not become greedy and try to take all of the generation property for yourself. This should only be the case if it is in the will or you are the only child.