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Estate Planning, Radio/Media

Using a Life Estate in your planning

September 22, 2021 by Nancy Ling

Partner Nancy Ling regularly advises clients in the practice areas of wills, trusts, estate and incapacity planning, estate administration, residential and commercial real estate, property matters, corporate transactions and business law.

In this edition of Legal Matters, Nancy discusses one of the tools she can use to help clients properly plan for their estate by using a "Life Estate."


When preparing estate plans for our clients, we have a whole toolbox at our disposal. 

One tool that we occasionally use is called a life estate. This is a tool that we will use with blended families or in scenarios where you want to make sure a loved one has a place to live out the remainder of their life, but the house has to be inherited by someone different. 

Giving someone a life estate means that they are entitled to the asset for the remainder of their life, and their interest in the asset will end with their death. A life estate can even be registered against the land title giving the surviving resident of the house added security that they can't be evicted even though they aren't the ultimate owner of the house. 

For some families, a formal life estate is not the best tool; it may be that you don't want your spouse evicted right away, but you also don't want your heirs to wait a lifetime for their inheritance. In that case we can use what we call an occupation period leaving instructions that your surviving spouse can remain in the house for two years, or perhaps three years, to give them time to find a new place to live. 

We can help you find the right tool for your estate plan.