What is a Life Estate?

A life estate is one of the various forms through which a person can hold ownership in a piece of property. If a person holds property using a life estate, then that person has the right to possess, enjoy, and occupy the property has his or her own. However, the life estate declares that when that particular owner passes away, their interest in the property terminates. This is automatic, without the need for additional forms and court orders. Because the interest terminates, a life estate holder cannot transfer his or her interest in the property through a will. This is because once he or she passes away, the individual will not have any property to dive.

Life estates are normally used to keep property from being transferred through the process of probate. The life estate will typically help to eliminate any legal issues that arise from the probate proceeding. For example, if a person wants to transfer his home to his teenage son upon his passing, the home will have to go through the process of probate before the ownership can be transferred. However, if the homeowner creates a new deed that reserves a life estate in the home, with a remainder of interests to the child, then this will be enough to transfer the property without ever having to attend the court.

The home will automatically transfer to the child when the parent dies, so that the child will not need to deal with legal obligations while mourning. The key to a life estate is making sure that it is executed properly. If it isn't, then the life estate may be pointless. During a parent's life, he or she will be required to pay all costs, such as insurance and property taxes. This is because he or she will be considered the sole owner of the life estate for the time being.

Moreover, the child who was given the remainder of the estate does not have any right to property whatsoever until the life estate owner dies. This means that the child cannot make any changes to the property or sell the property while the parent or current owner is still alive. Spouses often use life estates as well to ensure that their marital home becomes the property of the surviving spouse upon the first spouse's death.

One of the key facts about a life estate is the fact that it cannot be revoked. Once a person sets up his or her ownership of a property in a life estate, he or she cannot sell or otherwise dispose of the home. This means that if you are considering moving in the future, you should not establish a life estate. Also, if you are worried that you may need to sell your home for finances or that the home may foreclose, then a life estate is not for you. If you want more information, then you need to talk to a probate.com attorney or an estate planning representative to determine whether or not you are eligible.

When controlling a life estate, it is also important that the owner refrains from engaging in waste activity. This could prevent the next person in line on the life estate from putting the property to full use, so it is not permitted. Every life estate lists the property will belong to a designated individual for life, and then will be transferred to another individual for life. Contact a local estate planning attorney if you want to learn more about how these cases work.