Keep your property in the family with a life estate
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Keep your property in the family with a life estate

On Behalf of | Oct 24, 2022 | Trust |

Legal joint property ownership commonly comes in the form of a life estate. Life estates themselves come in many different kinds, and you may want to find out which one is right for your estate if you want to ensure that the family property in South Carolina stays in the family.

What’s a life estate and who needs one?

A life estate generally comes in the form of a residence, but it’s always a piece of property. The person who owns it is allowed to utilize the property for the entirety of their life.

This individual is referred to as a life tenant, and they share their ownership of the residence or property with someone else. This other person is referred to as the remainderman. Once the life tenant has passed away, the property’s title goes to the remainderman.

Making it so the property isn’t an asset

A life estate may be important to have if a lien is ever placed on the property by Medicaid or Medicare. This may result from someone needing to stay in a care facility at the end of their life. The lien is put against the property to pay off debt from medical and other expenses. With a life estate, you can ensure that the property is not considered an asset of the decedent’s estate.

Having a life estate also come with the benefit of avoiding probate. This is the process of legally proving that a will is valid, and it tends to be as tedious as it is expensive.

When you include a life estate in your estate planning, it may offer protection to your property from Medicaid estate recovery. It’s a way of giving the owners the legal right to keep the property for the rest of their lives.