Anonymous asked in Business & FinanceRenting & Real Estate · 1 month ago

What happens to a house in a life estate?

Lets say my Dad's name is on the house, my dad passes away and my mom is still living in the house years later.  On the record my dad's name is listed then my mom's name and after that is says "a life estate".

Can my mom legally give me the house?   Since the house was only in my Dad's name for years then added my mom as a life estate, when my mom no longer needs the house would it go back to my Dad's estate and be subject to his will from years ago?  If my mom goes into a nursing home and is on Medicaid, would the house then be subject to Medicaid recovery?

This is just an example but let's say may Dad passed away in 2005 and let's say that my mom had the legal papers drawn up to give me the house in 2008 but my name doesn't appear on the county record.


This is NOT an actual story, just examples.  I'm not listing real names of the people actually involved on the internet.

7 Answers

  • 1 month ago
    Favourite answer

    A life estate gives the person named lifetime use of the property to live in. The party that grants a life estate also names a remainderman, the party that is to receive the property upon termination of the life estate.

    Creating a life estate can be an important part of wise financial planning.  Upon the death of the owner, no will is necessary to convey the property to the new owner, the remainderman.  The property essentially bypasses probate twice - the first time, upon the death of the owner. The second time, upon the death of the life tenant, as the life tenant never owned it, so it never becomes part of their estate.

    In the case of a life tenant needing long-term skilled nursing care outside the home, such a piece of advance planning would protect the home from any claim by a state's Medicaid office against the home, provided that the life estate was created outside the 5-year look-back period. For example, if a person knew they had a short amount of time left and suspected the proposed life tenant might need such long-term care in the near future, the home could be taken by the state to offset the state's costs of paying the care facility, if the need for care arose before 5 years passed.

  • Judy
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    Sh is allowed to live there as long as she is alive

  • 1 month ago

    It doesn't make any sense if it is the family home.  Both of your parents would own it together.  However, if it was your father's house and in later years, he met your mother and gave her a life estate in the house, then when he dies, it would go to whomever he named as the beneficiary in his Will or Trust.  However, until his new wife dies, she has a right to live there, provided that she pays the taxes and maintains it in good condition.

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  • Pearl
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    i would ask a lawyer about it

  • 1 month ago

    No, Mom can't give you the house, she doesn't own it.  A life estate gives the person use of the property until their death.  They do not own the property thus cannot sell it, will it to an heir, give it to anyone or take a loan against it.  But Mom can allow you to live in the property as long as Mom is alive.  Whether rent is paid or not is up to her.

    The house would not be a part of any Medicaid claim because she does not own the property.

  • 1 month ago

    It appears that mom and dad aren't in a community property state.

    Thus, it's not community property.

    Dad has given mom a life estate.

    This means that mom is able to live in the house until she dies, moves, or no longer maintains the property.

    Mom can't give you the house, she does not own it.

    Since mom is no longer living in the house, Dad's estate takes ownership (and will be handled based on will, trust or through probate).

    Medicare has no recovery, unless they had recovery from Dad. 

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