The Life Estate Deed – One Option for Protecting Your Home


Gina M. Barry, Esq.

The most cherished asset in most families is the family home. In many cases, the family home is also the largest asset. Typically, protecting that home from nursing home costs is a high priority concern as most families would choose to protect the home instead of selling the home to pay for nursing home care. For those who desire to protect the home, it may be possible to avoid a sale upon a nursing home admission, especially when planning begins early.

When there is no nursing home admission in sight, a very common technique for protecting the home is a deed reserving a life estate. This is a deed in which you transfer your home (or other real estate) to the persons whom you want to have it after you pass away (remaindermen), but reserve unto yourself the right to live in your home until you pass away. Typically, the remaindermen are your children. The life estate is held by you (life tenant) and carries with it the responsibility of paying the ongoing expenses of the home, such as taxes and maintenance costs. The life estate interest guarantees you the right to exclusive possession of the property, even to the extent of being able to exclude the remaindermen during your lifetime. This exclusivity also allows you to retain any applicable tax abatements. ...

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by: Gina M. Barry

Prime
March 2012

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