The transfer of a property from one owner to another is accomplished by way of three different kinds of deeds: a quitclaim deed, a special warranty deed, and a general warranty deed. There are specific benefits that accompany each deed type, such as the quick release of property rights without needing to provide warranties (quitclaim) or the benefit of being provided all warranties associated with real estate transfer (general warranty). However, another type of deed exists that is used less frequently. Life estate deeds. We feel that it’s important to understand the nature of a St George life estate deeds - which involves creating a life estate instead of a more conventional deed - and the circumstances that call for it’s consideration.
Life Estate Deeds: What Are They?
When a person who owns a property (otherwise known as the grantor) transfers ownership to someone else to be specifically used for the life a particular person, these are St George life estate deeds. These deeds declare that the person occupying the property is legally authorized to do so for the remainder of their life. Though the authorized person doesn’t have to be the the granter, in most St George life estate deeds, they are. A life estate deed will name someone - called the remainderman - which is a person(s) who will become the owner of the real estate upon death of the life tenant. For example, if Max wishes that the ownership of his home legally pass to his daughter, Jane, when he dies, he can deed a life estate to himself and put Jane on it as the remainderman. When Max dies, the title of the property will transfer immediately and automatically to Jane. All Jane would need to do is record Max’s death certificate.
Pros of Life Estate Deeds
Perhaps the greatest benefit of St George life estate deeds is the fact that there is no need for the probate process and there is no need for the home to be part of the estate of the life tenant. This is one of the main reasons the people use them.
Cons of Life Estate Deeds
The first item of interest to mention in this section isn’t necessarily a downside, just a reminder of the terms of St George life estate deeds. Remember that while the life tenant is still alive, the remainderman has no right to possession whatsoever. Yes, the remainderman has ownership interest by the fact that they are named on the life estate deed. But the life tenant has full right of possession while they are alive. Also, financing options for both parties are limited as far as the property is concerned because the value of ownership for the life tenant and the remainderman decrease when St George life estate deeds are created. A life tenant can sell their life estate to someone else, but that someone else would then be required to surrender ownership of the property to the remainderman when the original life tenant passes away.
How Does a Life Estate Affect the Property Title?
It does so significantly. In fact, issues surrounding selling or transferring a property title or refinancing a home become increasingly complicated under the influence of St George life estate deeds. The assistance of an experienced professional would be recommended in such situations For further information about life estate deeds, contact us at Eagle Gate Title and we will help you obtain all the information necessary to decide if going that route is the best choice for you.