As a homeowner in Maryland, you want your family to inherit your belongings after your death. A life estate guarantees their rights to your property and assets after you’ve enjoyed them. There are certain facts to understand before creating a life estate.
A life estate is property that an individual owns and lives in during their lifetime. Beneficiaries and creditors are prevented from seizing, owning or selling the property before the owner’s death.
The property owner is the life tenant of the estate. As the life tenant, you retain full ownership of the property, so you can rent the property for income, make renovations and sell the property to a buyer. After your death, the property is passed along to your beneficiaries, and there is no need for probate court proceedings.
Benefits of a life estate
First, you and a lawyer need to draft a life estate deed and discuss the advantages and disadvantages. Creating a life estate is recommended to property owners who want a simplified version of their estate plan. The property doesn’t go through probate, and you don’t have to write down complex details in a will. You’re guaranteed a place to live for the rest of your life, and your family members or heirs are guaranteed their share of your property as well.
Why a life estate matters
A life estate is similar to but not exactly like a will or a living trust. It focuses more on planning for the ownership and transfer of an individual’s property. It’s designed to streamline the process without too many legal complications.