Morganton, NC asked in Estate Planning for North Carolina

Q: I want to do a "Life Estate" to my son - what do I need?

change deed? letter to mortgage co.? are there docs from court house that I need? How much does this cost>

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1 Lawyer Answer
Rachel Lea Hunter
Rachel Lea Hunter
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Cary, NC
  • Licensed in North Carolina

A: What are you trying to do?

Life estate or "Lady Bird" deeds are not recognized in NC.

However, if you own real property you can convey it to someone else and keep a life estate. The problem is that if the land is mortgaged, then the lender may not be real crazy about conveying the property to someone else unless they are also added to the mortgage.

If you are trying to engage in "poor man's" estate planning, a life estate may or may not be the way to go. Also, depending on your age, there could be significant problems with you just giving away your property and then thinking you will be eligible for Medicaid in the next 5 years.

Cost will depend on what you really need to be done. Do you really need a will or trust? If you just really only need a deed, those are not all that expensive. The problem though is that there is a mortgage on the property. You should then discuss with the mortgage company whether your son can be added to the mortgage. Does your son want to even do this? Why a life estate as opposed to joint ownership with right of survivorship? What about tax consequences, if any? These are things that may also come into play depending on your age and circumstances.

I suggest that you see either an estate planning lawyer or elder care lawyer if your real goal is estate planning/Medicaid planning and the property transfer is part of that. If your goal is simply to transfer the property then you need to see a real estate attorney.

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