What makes a life estate?

On Behalf of | Mar 28, 2022 | Estate Planning |

Through a life estate, you can transfer property to someone who shares it with you now. Land and any of the developments on that land are legal assets to use for a life estate deed. If you own any real property, you risk public blowback should you transfer that property strictly via a will. The laws of Texas accept life estates as legal means of avoiding probate.

Assigning beneficiaries

To make a life estate complete and legal, you need to assign beneficiaries. The goal of estate planning is to streamline your transfer of wealth. By listing your beneficiaries now, your estate doesn’t have to prove your identity later on nor those who’ll inherit assets. In the case of life estates, beneficiaries are often those currently using the property they’ll inherit. These are called joint tenants, but the ownership of the estate remains the grantor’s during their lifetime.

Without verification from probate

Writing up a life estate deed is a legal precursor to your eventual transfer of wealth. This deed verifies the totality of your estate and its beneficiaries. Verification is usually required upon your death, which can prolong or negate your property’s transfer. The estate deed you’ll notarize transfers property through Texas law. Life estates are also useful for:

  • Tax deductions
  • Retirement funds
  • Medicaid plans

Why the importance of “life” in a life estate?

Establishing life as central to estate planning ensures that beneficiaries only receive their assets when their grantors die. No matter how just you’ve been, beneficiaries can try to abuse their inheritances prematurely. A proper life estate not only protects you from them contesting your will but also gives you full rights while you’re alive.