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Ely
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 86628
Experience:  Fully licensed attorney in Texas in private practice.
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Hi, Thanks for reading my question below! We bought a

Resolved Question:

Hi,

Thanks for reading my question below!

We bought a condo for my mother-in-law to live as her priXXXXX XXXXXving place. The condo is very close to us, so that we can take care of her easily. She has no income, and she is 74 years old. We need to pay everything for her, and she is our dependent. Recently I by chance heard from the township assess officer that my mother-in-law's property could have the property tax senior benefit as long as she is alive and she lives there as her primary property. In order to get this benefit, we need to prepare something called life estate interest. After reading a lot of online documents regarding life estate instere, I got an impression that I need to do the followings:

1. prepare a statement saying that my husband and I are the real owners of that property, but we would like to allow my mother-in-law to live over there as long as she is alive.

2. we take the statement to get notary on it.

3. give it to the township assess office.

Could you please advise if this is the right procedure?

Thanks a lot!

Di
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Estate Law
Expert:  Ely replied 10 months ago.
Hello friend. My name is XXXXX XXXXX welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: (1) this is general information only, not legal advice, and, (2) there may be a slight delay between your follow ups and my replies.

I am sorry for your mother-in-law's situation. Can you please tell me if the condo currently has a mortgage, or not?

This is not an answer, but an Information Request. I need this information to answer your question. Please reply, so I can answer your question. Thank you in advance.
Customer: replied 10 months ago.

No, we paid it off when we bought it. It has no mortgage.

Expert:  Ely replied 10 months ago.
D.Y.,

Okay, great, because that could have been a deal-breaker. One more question, please. Whose names are XXXXX XXXXX deed to the home - hers, yours, or both?
Customer: replied 10 months ago.


My husband and I only.

Expert:  Ely replied 10 months ago.
Okay, great, thank you for the reply.

A life estate is the ownership of land for the duration of a person's life. In other words, that person has interest in the property for their lifetime.

At the moment, you hold all the interest outright. What you want to do is to give her a LIFE ESTATE interest.

This is done by filing a special instrument (i.e. document) with the County Recorder of Deeds in the county where the property is. The instrument will state that she has a LIFE ESTATE with that property. The deed will need to be signed by the current owners (i.e.you) and notarized.

Ergo:

1. prepare a statement saying that my husband and I are the real owners of that property, but we would like to allow my mother-in-law to live over there as long as she is alive.

2. we take the statement to get notary on it.

3. give it to the township assess office.

Could you please advise if this is the right procedure?


YES, except make sure that the township office will record the deed - call ahead. Otherwise, it may be the local County Recorder of Deeds.

I hope this helps and clarifies. Good luck.

Gentle Reminder: Please use the REPLY button to keep chatting, or RATE my answer when we are finished. Kindly rate my answer as one of the top three faces and then submit, as this is how I get credit for my time with you. Rating my answer the bottom two faces does not give me credit and reflects poorly on me, even if my answer is correct. I work very hard to formulate an informative and honest answer for you; please reciprocate my good faith. (You may always ask follow ups at no charge after rating.)
Customer: replied 10 months ago.


Thank you very much!


 


That sounds very simple. Could we find that document template somewhere online? We really are not able to pay additional money to hire an attorney. I guess we can do it by ourselves if that document has a standard wording.


 


Does she need to put her signature on that document too? Does she need to go to the notary place with us too?


 


Thanks a lot!

Expert:  Ely replied 10 months ago.
Thank you very much!

You are more than welcome!

That sounds very simple. Could we find that document template somewhere online? We really are not able to pay additional money to hire an attorney. I guess we can do it by ourselves if that document has a standard wording.

I actually tried finding something online for you while typing out the answer. Unfortunately, I could not find anything specific to the point. The best I could find is here. This is a little different, because it is NOT grantor giving a life estate to grantee, but grantor giving ALL the interest to grantee while reserving the life estate for themselves.

However, this should give you an idea of what the instrument should look like. I do recommend an attorney. If finances are an issue, I can recommend three resources. First, here is a list of all pro bono work in the state...

http://www.abanet.org/legalservices/probono/directory/illinois.html

…and another list:

http://www.lawhelp.org

Finally, you may call your local law school and see if they have a legal clinic place available. The legal clinic is a free service the school(s) provide to the community. While they are often overbooked, they have openings sometimes. Here is the list law schools in your state:

http://www.hg.org/law-schools-illinois.asp

Does she need to put her signature on that document too? Does she need to go to the notary place with us too?

Yes and yes.

Please note: I aim to give you genuine information and not necessarily to tell you only what you wish to hear. Please, rate me on the quality of my information and do not punish me for my honesty. I understand that hearing things less than optimal is not easy, and I empathize.

Gentle Reminder: Please use the REPLY button to keep chatting, or RATE and submit your rating when we are finished.
Customer: replied 10 months ago.


I just sent you over a couple of other questions, I am not sure if you have got them or not? Thanks a lot!

Expert:  Ely replied 10 months ago.
D.Y.,

Hmm, it seems not to have gone through. Can you please try again?
Customer: replied 10 months ago.

Thank you for letting me know. I guess this is what happened. So far I am really satisfied with your support. :)


 


The other question is that could we have the benefit to deduct the condo's property tax when we file federal tax? My mother-in-law is our dependent. If yes, will the new document prohibit us to take the federal tax dedutible benefit?


 


My mother-in-law started to live in that property since last year (2012), yet the document is going to be prepared now. Is there a way to get the property tax senior benefit based on the acutal date when she started to live in.


 


My mother-in-law is a very decent person, who loves and cares us, and deeply appreciate all we have done for her. Yet, I still want to know if there is any big risk for us to prepare that document?


 


Thank you very very much!


 


Di

Expert:  Ely replied 10 months ago.
Thank you again for your kind words.

The other question is that could we have the benefit to deduct the condo's property tax when we file federal tax? My mother-in-law is our dependent. If yes, will the new document prohibit us to take the federal tax dedutible benefit?

This becomes a very subjective matter. Instead of giving you a firm yes or not, please see this link a href="http://www.lexisnexis.com/legalnewsroom/estate-elder/b/estate-elder-blog/archive/2010/09/09/tax-benefits-stay-with-life-estate-owner.aspx">here to have the matter clarified.

My mother-in-law started to live in that property since last year (2012), yet the document is going to be prepared now. Is there a way to get the property tax senior benefit based on the acutal date when she started to live in.

I am afraid it must conform to the life estate deed. Sorry.

My mother-in-law is a very decent person, who loves and cares us, and deeply appreciate all we have done for her. Yet, I still want to know if there is any big risk for us to prepare that document?

Not really. This is done all the time. Life estate is not uncommon.

Please note: I aim to give you genuine information and not necessarily to tell you only what you wish to hear. Please, rate me on the quality of my information and do not punish me for my honesty. I understand that hearing things less than optimal is not easy, and I empathize.

Gentle Reminder: Please use the REPLY button to keep chatting, or RATE and submit your rating when we are finished.
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 86628
Experience: Fully licensed attorney in Texas in private practice.
Ely and 6 other Estate Law Specialists are ready to help you

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    Ely

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