A life estate is a form of joint ownership that allows one person to remain in a house until his or her death, when it passes to the other owner.
Life estates can be used to avoid probate and to give a house to children without giving up the ability to live in it.
What are the benefits of a life estate?
Benefits of a Life Estate
- The right to live in the home until death;
- Maintaining a $250,000 capital gains exclusion provided you resided in the home two (2) of the last five (5) years;
- The right to keep a portion of the sale proceeds of the house if it is later sold;
- The right to rental income;
What is a life estate and how does it work?
In common law and statutory law, a life estate (or life tenancy) is the ownership of land for the duration of a person’s life. In legal terms, it is an estate in real property that ends at death when ownership of the property may revert to the original owner, or it may pass to another person.
Does a person with a life estate own the property?
A person owns property in a life estate only throughout their lifetime. Beneficiaries cannot sell property in a life estate before the beneficiary’s death. One benefit of a life estate is that property can pass when the life tenant dies without being part of the tenant’s estate.
Can a life estate be terminated?
Due to this termination, a life estate holder cannot transfer his or her interest in the property through a will. Importantly, a life estate cannot be revoked. Therefore, 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.