How to Create a Life Estate As Part of Your Estate Plan

If you are familiar with some of the more common terms relating to the creation of an estate plan, you have likely heard the phrase “life estate.” Whether this estate planning tool makes sense for your individual situation depends on your needs and goals. Life estates are often used for managing estate assets or to avoid probate. An experienced attorney can help you determine whether a life estate makes sense for your family.

Creating a Life Estate in California

If you are considering the use of a life estate as part of your overall estate plan, there are certain steps that you must take in order to actually set it up. The following is a helpful overview:

  1. Consult with a knowledgeable attorney who will provide you with an overview of your right to use and live on the property should you decide to deed it to someone else while reserving a life estate.
  2. Draft a deed and include language that reserves your life estate interest in the property.
  3. Include the legal description of the property in the deed.
  4. Include the name of the county where the property is located when drafting the deed.
  5. Include the name of the person or persons who will ultimately receive the property after your life estate has expired.
  6. Record the deed with the county recorder where the property is located once it has been signed.
  7. Notify your other advisors, such as your financial planner or your certified public accountant, of the change in ownership of this important asset.

Once you have created your life estate, it is important to ensure that your loved ones understand how this estate planning tool and form of property ownership works. We hope that you found this article helpful as you consider setting up a life estate for your own family. If so, we encourage you to share it with your friends and family on Facebook. While many of your loved ones may have heard of life estates, few probably understand how to create one.