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Life Estate Deed Transfer

By Terry Savage on November 14, 2020 | Financial Planning / Retirement

I have my mother’s power of attorney for financial matters. Her current will needs updating and we are working on that. In the meantime, I am trying to process a Life Estate Deed to transfer her house to me. It is different than what is currently in her will. Which document will take priority after her death, the LED or her current will?

Terry Says

You need an attorney who practices estate planning law in your state to answer that one. But what’s the purpose of this transfer? Is it to get assets out of her name so that she qualifies for Medicaid nursing home care? You know they will look back for five years at any transfers in order to qualify. Or is it because you want to keep the home after her death. In that case, you probably don’t need a “life estate” but instead she should have a Revocable Living Trust, with the house in the name of the trust. Then if she is incapacitated you can act on all assets named in the trust. The trust would say that when she dies, she wants to leave it (and any other trust assets) to you, or to family members named in the trust document.

Again, I’m just guessing here, not knowing the entire situation. But a life estate needlessly complicates things, in my opinion.

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