Understanding a a Florida Life Estate Deed
Many people in Florida who own property believe that the only way they can transfer their property to their intended beneficiaries is through a will or trust. However, some types of property pass outside of the probate process, and people can also transfer their homes to their loved ones without having to go through probate by utilizing a Florida life estate deed. Attorney Rhonda D. Zimmerman is a Fort Lauderdale estate planning attorney that helps people plan their estates in such a way that their wishes are reflected, including helping people establish life estate deeds and incorporating them into their estate plans.
What Is a Florida Life Estate Deed?
A life estate deed is a type of deed that allows your property to be automatically transferred to one or more people after your death. When you set up a life estate deed, the people who will receive your property are known as the remaindermen. If you establish a life estate deed, it will create a life estate that will allow you to continue living in and using your property for the rest of your life.
Setting up a life estate deed offers several advantages. With this type of deed, your property will not have to be probated. After your life estate deed is signed by you and recorded, you will not have to draw up an additional legal document to ensure that it will be transferred to your remaindermen. A life estate deed also allows you to remove your home for the determination of your eligibility for Medicaid if you require it to pay for long-term care. The state will not be able to recover your property after you die for Medicaid reimbursement. Creating a life estate deed for your property will not interfere with your ability to Finally, the federal government will not consider you to have transferred your property until your death, so your remaindermen will still qualify for a stepped-up basis for tax purposes when they receive your property.
There are a couple of drawbacks to a life estate deed that you should also consider. Once you execute a life estate deed, you will not be able to lease, mortgage, sell, or rent the property unless the remaindermen give you their consent. Even though you will be able to retain the homestead exemption, you will not be able to use a life estate deed to get around Florida’s homestead laws if you have a surviving spouse, children, or grandchildren. Under these laws, your surviving spouse will have a life estate in your property, and your children or grandchildren will receive remainder interests in it even if they are not named as remaindermen in your life estate deed.
Lady Bird or Enhanced Life Estate Deeds
Florida also allows you to create an enhanced life estate deed or Lady Bird deed. Unlike the regular Florida life estate deed, an enhanced life estate deed allows you to keep in complete control of your property during your life, including the right to mortgage, rent, or sell your property without having to get the consent of your remaindermen. Choosing an enhanced life estate deed helps to avoid one of the drawbacks of the traditional life estate deed.
Talk to an Experienced Fort Lauderdale Estate Planning Attorney
Creating a life estate deed can help you to avoid probate and transfer your property automatically to your intended beneficiaries. It must be drawn up correctly, however. It is a good idea for you to work with an experienced estate planning attorney at the Law Offices of Rhonda D. Zimmerman to ensure that your estate plan will reflect your wishes and be deemed valid. Call us today at (561) 672-7265 to schedule a consultation.