There are various different legal instruments that can be used when you’re planning your estate, and one of them is called a life estate.
We would like to parenthetically point out the fact that there are websites out there that sell do-it-yourself last wills. Many people will buy into the idea that they can download one of these worksheets and their estate planning efforts have been completed.
In fact, there are a number of things you should take into consideration before making this assumption.
For example, let’s say you get divorced after having children. Some time passes, and you decide to remarry.
As you are entering into the marriage you own your own home. If you draw up a last will leaving the home to your spouse and you die first, what will he or she ultimately do with it?
Your surviving spouse could get remarried and the house could wind up in the hands of his or her new spouse. Short of this the survivor could leave the house to his or her children rather than yours.
This type of situation could be addressed by the utilization of a life estate. You can make your spouse the life tenant when you are executing the device. As the life tenant your surviving spouse would have ownership rights throughout the rest of his or her life.
You name your children as the remaindermen, and they would ultimately assume full ownership of the property after the death of the life tenant.
This is one possible scenario where a life estate could be appropriate. You can find out about others by setting up a consultation with a licensed estate planning lawyer.