Many people feel that the best way to do this is through a Life Estate
deed provision. I am familiar with this because my father did this
with me. He later asked for the house back (he remarried), and I
gladly deeded it back to him.
What is a life estate?
From "Avoiding Probate with the Enhanced Life Estate Deed" by Martin H. Cohen
"3. Jointly with Child (or Children). If you transfer title to a child
and hold title as joint tenants with right of survivorship with the
child, there will be no probate when you die (or the survivor of a
husband and wife dies). Here also the child should see an attorney,
but the legal services are minor compared to probate. On the other
hand, there are potential problems that should make you think twice
before putting the title in joint names with your child."
and also note there
"5. Enhanced Life Estate Deed. You could transfer the remainder to
your child under an Enhanced Life Estate Deed. The Enhanced Life
Estate Deed is a specially designed instrument that is only available
in a few states, including Florida. Generally, it works like a
traditional Life Estate Deed, and there is no capital gains tax if the
property is sold shortly after your death. However, you retain the
right to change your mind."
Please read the entire text at
"16. What is a deed with a Reserved Life Estate?
"A deed is a document showing proof of ownership of real property. A
deed with a reserved life estate is used when you wish to pass your
real property to someone upon your death, but wish to live in and
maintain control of the property until your death. A deed with
reserved life estate allows you to live on the property with the
responsibility to keep up and maintain the property. A benefit of this
type of deed is that the "remainder" is passed immediately upon your
death to whomever you appoint, and also avoiding the probate process."
The reserved or enhanced life estate deed is probably the best and
simplest choice for your father and you to avoid probate upon his
demise, and I advise you both to visit a lawyer as you will need one
to draw up the legal documents for this type of deed. Also, check
your area for "elder law" attorneys as they usually have flexible
rates for elders.
Thank you for asking this interesting question!
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