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Life Estate Deeds in Estate Planning

Estate Planning

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With a rise in the value of land over the past decade, one’s largest asset oftentimes ends up being their home. While a last will and testament usually cover the transfer of title of real estate upon death, life estate deeds also fulfill this purpose while also providing many more benefits that property owners might not be aware of.

What is a Life Estate Deed?

Deeds effectively transfer real estate from one party to another. The parties to a life estate deed are referred to as the “life tenant” and the “remainderman.” The life tenant (the current owner) transfers the property to the remainderman (the beneficiary). While the deed is signed and recorded now, the full transfer of title does not happen until the death of the life tenant. The life tenant can use the property during his or her natural life and has rights to any rents or profits arising from its use. Upon the death of the life tenant, the remainderman receives the full title and all the rights and benefits of owning the property.

Benefits of Establishing a Life Estate Deed

Potential Issues That Could Arise from a Life Estate Deed

Life estate deeds have many benefits for clients whose primary asset is their home. They can be an effective, low-cost tool to avoid probate and Medicaid liens from affecting the home. If you would like to learn more about life estate deeds, please contact us for a consultation.

Jason Snyder is a Senior Associate in Tully Rinckey PLLC’s Rochester office, where he focuses his practice on wills, trusts, estate administration, and real estate law. He has particular experience in drafting wills, estate planning, estate administration, and all facets of real estate transactions. He can be reached at or at (888)-529-4543.


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