Do you have a piece of property in San Diego County that you want someone to reside in as long as they live and then pass the property to someone else? A life estate is typically an ownership interest where the owner of real property gives a “life estate” to another so that person has the right to live in a home for his or her life. It might happen in a situation where two people marry late in life. The husband sells his home and they move into the wife’s home. When the wife passes away, she wants the family home to go to her children but she also wants her husband to be able to live in the home if he outlives her. The wife can give a life estate to her husband so that the husband can live in the home until his death. Upon his death, the house goes to the wife’s children.
A life estate can be a valuable estate planning tool to keep assets in the family, such as the family home, but there can also be problems if they are not prepared correctly. The document creating a life estate needs to be drafted carefully to avoid issues later such as who is responsible for property taxes, insurance, maintenance, and repairs. What if the costs of repairing the home are high and the husband does not want to spend the money on a house that will be going to his wife’s children? Does the life estate include furniture and other household items? What if the husband remarries?
If you want to give someone a life estate in a piece of property you own, we can assist you with the proper documents to accomplish that at Law Office of Scott C. Soady, A Professional Corporation. Please feel free to call us or e mail us about this or any other estate planning issue. An in-house consultation up to 30 minutes is free.