Your property should be passed down with your blessing. Let an estate lawyer from Rokisky Law help you properly create your Life Estate Deeds/Transfer on Death Deeds.
Part of a successful estate plan is creating necessary documents to secure your assets and transfer ownership to the correct parties. Creating a Life Estate Deed or Transfer on Death Deed ensures your property is transferred to the person you designate.
What is a Life Estate Deed?
A life estate deed is a legal document that changes the ownership of a piece of property. The person who owns the property signs a deed that will pass the ownership of the property automatically upon death to someone else. As part of the deed, the owner keeps what is called a life estate, which means they can continue to live on and use the property for the rest of their life.
What is a Transfer on Death Deed?
A Transfer on Death Deed, unlike a Life Estate Deed, does not create any enforceable present interest in the Grantee of the Deed. Instead, the deed names the beneficiaries to receive the property only upon the death of the Grantor. The Grantor of a Transfer on Death Deed may change the beneficiaries or revoke the Transfer on Death Deed at any time prior to death.
Why should you create a Life Estate Deed or Transfer on Death Deed?
Life Estate Deeds/Transfer on death deeds are used in estate planning to keep real estate out of the probate process. Probate can be a long, expensive legal process through which the property of a deceased person is managed and distributed, under court supervision. With proper estate planning, probate can and should be avoided altogether. Additionally, by getting property outside of probate, a person may be able to protect their property from long-term care expenses.
What are the benefits of a Life Estate Deed or Transfer on Death Deed?
There are several benefits to using a Life Estate Deed or Transfer on Death Deed. The first benefit is that they save money and time by avoiding probate. They may also protect your property from the costs of long-term care in some circumstances.
Common Life Estate Deed Topics
Benefits and Drawbacks from Life Estate Deed
There are several benefits and several drawbacks from a Life Estate Deed.
Benefit – Using a life estate property deed can be preferable to an outright gift because that could be subject to gift tax.
Drawback – The owner loses complete control of the property. While they get to live in it the rest of their life, they can’t sell it to anyone, take out a mortgage, or control what happens to it after their death.
Read more Benefits and Drawbacks at LegalZoom.
Transfer of Death Deeds Notes
There are important notes about transfer on death deeds:
Revoked – You can request a revocation form or create a new transfer on death deed that replaces the original.
Mortgages and Liens – If you still owe money or your home or if a contractor has a lien on it, your beneficiary will inherit these responsibilities along with your property.
Additional Help and Resources
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You can also read more about Estate Planning and Elder Law on our Estate Planning Blog.