Lifetime Use for Daughter

Lifetime Use for Daughter

What is it called to do this and how to do it do we need a lawyer need paper drawn up to prevent problems at death when title will be transferred, and to allow for some security to having a home for me (daughter).


The facts are not really clear from your question. It sounds as if your parent or parents own a house and you want the right to use it for your life. There are a host of ways to accomplish this. We'll summarize a couple of them. Yes, you'll need a lawyer. Anytime you transfer or otherwise affect title to real estate you want the help of a real estate lawyer in the state where the property is located (because state laws vary considerably). You want a lawyer involved because if you err in the manner in which you impact title (ownership of the property) you could adversely affect the marketability of the property (the ability to sell it). That could prove costly and problematic.

Now, here's a bunch of ways you can get use of the house. The reason for so many answers, and the vague of your goals:

  • Have the folks simply deed the house outright to you. They can simply change the ownership to you. That would make you the "fee owner" (outright owner). That is greater then a mere life estate (the right to use the property while you are alive). But it encompasses your goal of a life estate (and more). If they give the house to you now it will avoid probate.
  • Have your folks deed the house to you and reserve a life estate to them. That would give you full ownership of the house on their death. This avoids probate, gives you a step up in tax basis on their death since the house will be included in their estate at death. This sounds like the opposite of what you're asking about, but again your question isn't that clear and this might just be the solution you are looking for.
  • Your folks could transfer ownership of the house into a revocable living trust so on death this living trust could transfer the ownership of the house, or merely a life estate if that is really what you want, to you. This will avoid probate.
  • Your folks could put their house into a trust now (in legal jargon, inter-vivos or inter vivos, i.e., while they are alive) or at death (in legal jargon, testamentary) and that trust could mandate that you get whatever rights are desired (life estate or more).
  • Your folks could gift you a portion of the house today and the deed could title ownership as joint tenants with rights of survivorship so that it would automatically pass to you on death. The various forms of title should be reviewed with a local real estate lawyer.

There are more options but this should hopefully get you going.

Now here are some more questions for you to consider:

  • The only way to really complete a plan is to start with the big picture. What are your parents goals? What are your goals? What are the facts involved? See the real key to most creative and successful plans is getting the right questions. Too often people end up with stock answers or canned forms (like those great legal websites that so often mislead consumers to think that they can get a form and solve their problems). Knowing what the plan should be is first. Selecting the form AND other steps and tailoring them to work for you is next.
  • What types of problems are you looking to avoid at death? In many cases there are no problems at death. Usually people fret over the purported evils of probate, but in many cases its not really a big deal at all. The degree of difficult depends on the state you are in and the facts involved. There is a whole industry that makes lots of money ripping off consumers over the purported evils of probate. Probate is not inherently bad or costly, it is a process that must be dealt with like any other. The REAL DANGER that most consumers face with probate is not probate itself but the industry that convinces them that avoiding probate is the only step that they have to take. That does a tremendous disservice to most families. You need to address income tax, estate tax, inheritance tax, intra-family issues, asset protection (protection from lawsuits) and a host of other issues --- again all depending on your family and facts.
  • Be sure to address income tax basis, Medicaid (elder law) planning, title insurance, property and casualty insurance, property tax (changing title now might adversely affect some type of local property tax abatement or benefit the folks get), and whatever other matters are relevant.

Sorry if this is complicated, but without more facts it is. If you consult a good real estate attorney he or she might quickly and inexpensively point you to the right answer.

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