A family home that you feel you have to keep but that is very expensive to maintain is an example of a white elephant.
Origin of white-elephant
- Sense 2, in reference to a story that when the kings of Siam wished to ruin an offending courtier, they would give him a white elephant, which the courtier then had to maintain at great expense
From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition
- In Siam elephants were working animals. However, white (albino) elephants were considered sacred and therefore were not to be put to work. The owner was then left to feed the elephant but could get no work from it. It is said that the King of Siam used to make a present of a white elephant to courtiers he wanted to ruin.