Tacoma, WA asked in Estate Planning for Washington

Q: When does the remainder-man becomes the legal owner - on the day of deed or day of death of donor/grantor/life tenant?

In piece county WA - if a son transfer his free and clear ownership of his home to his senior citizen mother as a gift but retains life estate in the deed..---

The mother (grantee) becomes the legal owner the same day or she becomes the owner day after the death of his life tenant son?(grantor)

In other words - son becomes judgment proof on the day of deed(he does not have other assets) or he is still considered the owner until his death and people/lawyers can sue him for civil damages ?

What are the advantages and disadvantages of retaining life estate vs free and clear transfer deed as gift

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1 Lawyer Answer
Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Crossville, TN

A: You REALLY should discuss this strategy with an attorney before you implement it. I can see all kinds of problems. Be aware that transfers of assets with the intent to hinder, frustrate or delay existing creditors are voidable. A creditor can reach back and get a court to undo the transfer and reach the transferred asset. If you are looking for protection from your future creditors, fine, but protection from existing creditors cannot be achieved this way.

You also need to think about the other side of the coin, being the effect this will have on your mother. The gift to her could end up disqualifying her for Medicaid to pay for long-term care should she ever need it. If she actually lives in the house, then it would not disqualify her, but then when she dies the house would be subject to estate recovery by Medicaid.

And there are other issues . . . this is not as simple as it seems.

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