A life estate can ensure that property is passed to an individual’s intended heir(s) immediately after death. This allows the individual to reside in the home while creating different rights of possession for the homeowner and the intended heir(s). Setting up a life estate with an Illinois probate lawyer can avoid conflict over the property and make it easier for heirs to take possession of the property at the time of death.

Understanding Life Estates

Life estates involve two types of interest. These are life estate and the remainder interest. The parties holding these interests are considered the legal owners of the property. The individual with the life estate interest may reside in the property, or possess it, until their death. These rights are transferred to the individual(s) with the remainder interest at the time of the grantor’s death.

A life estate is not required to go through the probate process because the property has essentially been transferred prior to death. This saves heirs time and expense. For example, heirs may immediately move into the property, rent the property, or sell the property without having to wait months or even years for the probate process to conclude. Most importantly, the heirs cannot take possession of the property or make any decisions related to the disposition of the property until the grantor/life tenant has passed away.

A life estate allows individuals to reside in the home, collect rent on the property, utilize any land or structures as they desire, and preserve Homestead tax benefits in Nevada. It also protects the property from Medicaid claims for reimbursement. These benefits make it a highly appealing option for individuals who desire that their property assets transfer to heirs and not government entities.

Creating a Life Estate

The majority of life estates involve the grantor transferring the ownership of the property from themselves as an owner to themselves as life tenant with an heir as a remainder beneficiary. In most cases, it is a simple process that an Illinois probate lawyer can complete and include with another end of life documents including living wills, etc. It is important to understand that a life estate is not easily altered. Once created, the home can be attached to an heir’s legal and tax issues that stem from lawsuits, tax liens, and divorces. An Illinois probate lawyer can explain these liabilities and determine the best way to protect the property from these potential issues.