What is a Life Estate?
Transferring real property to a family member or other individual is one way to protect assets and ensure that they pass automatically without going to probate court. A "life estate" refers to a provision in the deed that grants you, or you and your spouse, the right to live in the property during your lifetime and, if it is rented to others, to receive the income during your lifetime.
The downsides to a life estate are: (i) it only achieves your goals if you know the property will not be sold during your lifetime; and (ii) there is still a value to your life estate interest, which can create problems if you later need to transfer the property.
If you are considering a life estate deed, it is a good idea to speak with an estate planning attorney to make sure this will accomplish your goals without creating other issues down the road.
Learn more here about life estates in Massachusetts.
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