Life Estate Laws

April 2, 2013
A life estate can provide security and peace of mind.

Get the best Credit Tips at Credit Visionary

A life estate can offer protection and assurance.

When it concerns real estate, a life estate could be one way to have your cake and consume it too. On its a lot of basic level, a life estate is just a form of short-term land ownership. In a lot of scenarios, the individual who owns the land wants to inflict another person– however not just yet. With a life estate, you could move your property beforehand while booking the right to live there for the rest of your lifetime. When you die, the land automatically passes to the remainderman– the individual you chose to acquire it.


People create life estates for all kinds of reasons, however two of the most popular are navigating probate and Medicaid guidelines. A life estate allows a senior to give her property to a kid without handing it over immediately. She continues to reside in her house for the rest of her life. When she dies, the life estate will keep your home from getting knotted up in the legal procedure. Likewise, transferring your house with a life estate now will begin the clock running on Medicaid’s five-year look-back guideline. If you provide property away and wind up needing government help within the next 5 years, you will not have the ability to get help. A life estate lets you move now in the hope of making it out of the five-year window.

Life Tenant’s Responsibilities

The person with the right to stay in the residence for life is described as a life renter. Because your ownership interest ends when you perish, you can’t leave it to anyone in your will. It’s yours, and you are bound to take great care of it. A life renter pays all real estate tax and property owners insurance. He’s also needed to keep the home and stop avoidable deterioration or loss of resale value.

Potential Drawbacks

Life estates aren’t without risks. Troubles can occur between the life tenant and the remainderman. Picture living in a home your entire life and offering a life estate to your child when you are old. The life estate could just be a notepad, however it gives her the right to stop you from selling your house. This could trigger difficult feelings between the two owners– existing and future– who must find a means to work things out, as there may be no means from the life estate.


If the concept of being stuck in a life estate doesn’t attract you, there are other options. A depend on, for example, provides you the capability to move your land into the trust’s name. From there, you merely state in the count on where you desire your property to go when you pass away. Unlike a life estate, a depend on permits you to reserve the right to change your mind.