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Estate Planning With A Life Estate in Virginia

Life estatesProbate court is no one's idea of fun, so it's something you may want to spare your heirs when they inherit your home. One simple tool for doing that: a "life estate."

Do you want to avoid probate when it comes to the transfer of your assets at death, especially when it comes to your home? Perhaps you would prefer that home to pass directly into the hands of your adult heirs. If yes, then consider using a “life estate” approach.

If the concept of a life estate is new to you, then a recent article in The Wall Street Journal ought to be on your reading list. As the article titled “An Easy Way for Heirs to Inherit Your Home” explains, a life estate for real estate operates like a “payable-on-death account” for a bank account.

Here is how a life estate works. First, you draw up a deed to your house naming your heirs as beneficiaries. Second, you live in the house for the rest of your life. Third and lastly, after you pass, your named heirs need only to present your death certificate to assume title to the family home. This can save time and money often associated with probate. Simple?

A life estate may be too simple, depending on the circumstances. As with most things legal, things can get complicated quickly. For example, you will not be free to sell your home during your lifetime without beneficiary consent and there are tax issues to consider.  Depending upon the home and your objectives, there may be better ways to transfer the family home. Regardless, a life estate is a proven transfer tool just right for the right circumstances.

You can learn more about this topic as well as other strategies on our website under the tab entitled: estate planning in Virginia. Be sure you also sign up for our complimentary e-newsletter so that you may be informed of all the latest issues that could affect you, your loved ones and your estate planning.

Reference: The Wall Street Journal (February 9, 2014) “An Easy Way for Heirs to Inherit Your Home

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We've been putting together as many resources as possible so that we can continue to help:

  • If you’re a current client with a signing appointment or a prospective client with a consultation and would prefer that meeting take place in your own home, we can accomplish that with a little bit of pre-planning on our part and with the addition of a laptop, smartphone, tablet or other computer in your home to facilitate this virtual meeting. For those of you that need to sign legal documents, that too can be accomplished with the use of a webcam (FaceTime etc.), so that we can witness and electronically notarize all of your important legal documents.
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Thank you, Walt and the Zaremba Team

Coronavirus/Covid-19
Update to our Process

The unprecedented coronavirus pandemic has taken our entire country by surprise. We understand how difficult this time is for America’s businesses and families.  However, we believe it is vitally important that we make every effort possible to continue to offer solutions that avoid disrupting our important partnership with you, your family and friends.  As you know, estate planning is not something that should wait for a more convenient time, therefore the opportunity to address your important goals both during and after this crisis should not wait.  To that end, we have added the option of a ‘virtual consultation’ to our office process.  You will now have a choice of either meeting with us in our office or in the comfort of your own home.