Leaving Florida Property to Heirs
Serving Okeechobee, Martin, Palm Beach, St. Lucie, Broward Counties, and the Surrounding Communities
Do you have Florida property you want to leave to your heirs? As Florida estate planning and elder law attorneys, once we learn about your objectives and circumstances we can discuss with you the best method for transferring your property, which can include a transfer by ladybird deed, by joint ownership, or by an outright property transfer. Each transfer method has its own legal, financial, and even psychological advantages and disadvantages. Here is a brief summary of various transfer methods:
Title Your Home Jointly with Your Children with Rights of Survivorship
- Advantage: Your children automatically inherit the home when you die.
- Disadvantage: You will need your children’s consent if you wish to sell the house. You will be entitled to half or less of the proceeds depending on the percentage you and your children own, respectively.
- Disadvantage: For Medicaid purposes, this may be considered a gift and therefore create a period of ineligibility for benefits.
- Disadvantage: The property may be vulnerable to your child’s creditors.
Deed Your Home to Your Children, Reserving a Life Estate for Yourself
- Advantage: Your children own the home when you die.
- Disadvantage: You will need your children’s consent if you want to sell the house. You will be entitled to a minor percentage of the proceeds, based on the value of your life estate.
- Disadvantage: For Medicaid purposes, this may be considered a gift and create a period of ineligibility for benefits.
- Disadvantage: Once your life estate is terminated, the property may be vulnerable to your child’s creditors.
Place The House in an Enhanced Deed (also known as a Lady Bird Deed), Retaining the Home for the Rest of Your Life, with You Having the Full Rights to Sell/Give it Away While You’re Alive
- Advantage: The children automatically inherit the home at your death.
- Disadvantage: This arrangement may not be acceptable to some lenders and title insurance companies. This could make it difficult to sell or refinance the home.
Place the Home in a Revocable Living Trust
- Advantage: You control the property during your lifetime, and it passes on to the children after you die.
- Disadvantage: Refinancing your home can be difficult.
Gift Your House Outright to Your Children
- Advantage: You and the children may be pleased to know that you have given your home to them with “no strings attached.”
- Disadvantage: You lose control of the property. Your children can do whatever they want with the house – including selling it – without your consent.
- Disadvantage: You lose your Florida homestead exemption.
- Disadvantage: If your children sell the property while you’re alive, they will pay capital gains tax even though you would otherwise have been entitled to a $250,000 capital gains exclusion for the sale of your primary residence.
- Disadvantage: If you ever apply for Medicaid benefits, you may face a period of ineligibility for benefits since the transfer of the house will be considered a gift.
- Advantage: The house will pass to your children when it goes through Florida probate.
- Disadvantage: Florida probate can be time consuming and costly.
We urge you to contact us to investigate the best ways to provide protection for yourself during your lifetime, and for your loved ones when you’re gone.
Learn more about our Florida Estate Planning:
- Estate Planning
- Revocable Living Trusts
- Florida Living Trust FAQs
- Florida Estate Planning for Second Marriages
- Durable Powers of Attorney
- Wealth Transfer and Tax Planning
- Special Needs Trusts
- Probate Avoidance
- Planning for Your Minor Child
- Disinheriting An Heir
- Fiduciary Services
- Federal Estate Taxes
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