Life Style

Parting with a family home… or keeping it?



Oall you have to do is sell! » proposes Francis innocently, listening to the complaints of Marianne, his wife, sole heiress of a family house in Berck, by the sea, which she first received as an evidence. But the maintenance costs and the various works, carried out almost at each stay, have undermined the pleasure of taking up the torch from the three generations who occupied the place before her. And as she approaches her sixties, she gets tired. ” Sale ? But I can’t, I have all my holiday memories there, my grandparents got married there, and our children love going there”, she replies. After the sting of Francis’ remark, she admits to having already thought about parting ways with the small seaside villa… not without guilt. Why, after all, if management is unsustainable?

“Inheritance is never easy, and material complications should not mask emotional difficulties”warns the psychoanalyst Patrick Avrane (1). “If the transmission of heritage is part of a logic of reparation for mourning, the affective transfer that accompanies it can maintain a bond that is not always comfortable and generates a debt of love. And by inheriting a house, one can also feel invested with a mission that is more or less easy to assume”he warns.

Dual link

Do we want to be part of a line and prolong its history? Not necessarily, and if Marianne evokes with a certain pride her grandparents, the strength of their union, some acts of resistance during the Second World War, she also mentions more painful memories. “I also remember the death of an uncle, while we were staying in Berck when I was a child, and the impressive funeral wake. Every old house has its ghosts! » she concludes philosophically.

“Attractive but cumbersome ghosts that are never those of the spouse”, recalls Patrick Avrane to explain the detachment of Francis. The couple’s discussion made it possible to ask the real questions about a double bond of attraction and repulsion. It is up to Marianne to decide whether or not to sell the house, in good conscience.

Inheriting more than one can make matters worse, because “Each beneficiary has a different link with the family past and the house that embodies it, depending on birth order, special relationships with missing parents and grandparents”, explains Patrick Avrane. This explains the tensions between Julien, 34, and his two older brothers who are more attached than him to an old family mill in Charente. “A pointless ruin and a money pit”according to him.

“Invent yourself”

“Keeping a property in joint ownership very often exposes you to conflicts”, observes Michèle Auteuil, a lawyer specializing in real estate (2). Because it is very difficult to agree on the fair distribution of the charges, depending on the variable occupation of the place, the financial situation and the needs of each one. “It is never well lived, and I advise to sell a house immediately at the time of inheritance to avoid ruptures”she adds, the links being more important than the goods.

Doesn’t everyone hear it that way in the family? No one is subject to joint ownership, and when one of the heirs wishes to sell, the others must buy back his share or agree to part with the house. “In the event of a blockage, the judge will appoint a notary to liquidate the succession, or at best grant a delay. But beware of legal costs for all, warns the lawyer. In general, a letter from a lawyer is enough of a wake-up call to break the deadlock. »

So to sell or not to sell? Marianne has decided to give herself time, and her husband joins her in this choice, subject to transformations so that they finally feel at home there, while Julien intends to recover his share at the sale of the mill to buy ” her “ home. “The main thing is to reconnect with the republican spirit of heritage, which should help and not weigh down, adds Patrick Avrane. Whatever the choice, it would often be in our interest to invent ourselves, to make something new with something old by transforming a property, or selling it to be a builder. »

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