Q1: Can 3 people be involved in Life Estate, my mom and her boyfriend and me? (or is Life Estate only for people who are all 3 related?) Currently all 3 of us wants to buy a house together (splitting the cost 3 ways) in FL, but with only my mom and boyfriend living at the home. Q2: If we decide to do the Life Estate with the home, and my mom passes, what happens between her boyfriend and me? Does my mom's boyfriend need to do something (put me in a will, since we are not related), for me to get the house after? He is 20yrs older than me. Q3: Also will the house be protected against my mom's boyfriend's future Medicaid Recovery/long-term care, we are in FL (so we should I go for “Joint Tenants with right of survivorship” instead)? I want to ensure that I inherit the house each time, and we are not sure how best to ensure best tax situation, while preserving the home as an asset (hence exploring the Life Estate). Q4: Also, since I don't technically want to live in that house, I can still keep my main home as 'homesteaded' in FL, correct? Q5: Is Life Estate better, or Joint Tenants with Right of Survivorship? What is the Pros/Cons of each? Which is better for my situation?
2 Answers from Attorneys
If purchasing house in three ways as JTWROS - the surviving owners would inherit mom's share automatically upon her passing (and recording of death certificate).
You can designate another piece of real estate as your homestead.
If boyfriend passes away after Mom, you would become sole owner. But if you passed away before boyfriend (but after Mom), he would become sole owner.
Giving them both a life estate with you as sole remainder (for value you are providing) may be the way to go if you are comfortable with having no interest in the home until both Mom and BF pass.
You should really consult with an elder law / medicaid lawyer to structure this and other assets in a way that preserves or maintains mom's Medicaid eligibility and meets her estate planning desires.
You can see how complicated estate planning can be just based on your questions. Additionally, there are other questions and issues that you may not be thinking about that will arise when planning for what you want to accomplish. As Mr. Neufeld recommends, you really should consult with an estate planning attorney before taking any action.
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