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What to do when you inherit land

By Kerryn Penn, Planner, Baseline Group | Feb 01, 2022

At some point in your life you may find yourself inheriting land from a recently passed loved one or from a distant relative.

For some beneficiaries, the next steps are straight forward, however for others this process can be quite daunting. Emotions associated with the loss of a loved one and the additional sentimental connection to the inherited land, can make the legal and practical requirements of the inheritance stressful. Often knowing where to start can be the hardest part of the process. This is when it is strongly advised that you contact a land professional, such as a planner who is appropriately equipped to provide you with expert advise tailored specifically for you.

Often the same question is asked by the beneficiary- “Do I sell or keep the land?”. Both options are valid, and should be considered against their own merits in respect to your individual situation.

Selling the land can be a fairly practical and lucrative opportunity, especially if you have other family members who are beneficiaries. By doing this, you are also free from having to maintain the property and make additional future orientated decisions.

Keeping the land, is a process commonly referred to as ‘land banking’ in which the beneficiaries can keep the land and either choose to develop at a later time or sell when the monetary value of land is higher.

Another option, may be that you want to subdivide and develop the land, in which case a land expert such as a planner can be involved. Majority of individual-led development is residential, typically because the end product - being dwellings - generates larger volumes of interest from prospective purchasers.

Regardless of the development you choose to undertake, a planner is able to guide you through the development process due to an array of skills in their toolbox, including but not limited to their expert body of knowledge, local expertise within the property market, and awareness of central and local government decisions. These factors equally contribute to their ability to identify the opportunities as well as the restrictions your inherited plot of land may have and what steps need to be taken to achieve the best outcome for you.

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