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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 118237
Experience:  Licensed attorney practicing landlord-tenant, land use and other real estate law and litigation.
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I wiil be buying an apt in Broward County ex-wife and our

Customer Question

I wiil be buying an apt in Broward County for my ex-wife and our son Deeded to them. Can I own "life interest" in the apt so I can live there freely until I die.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Phillips Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Yes, you can have a life estate.

It is strongly suggested that you retain a local real estate Attorney to prepare the Deed for you to make sure that life estate is properly included on the Deed.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Yes, I will use a local attorney.

Also, can I have my 20-yr old son be Deeded as sole owner and place my name on the Deed with life estate and also place my ex-wife (his mother) on the Deed for a specified number of years (say 20 yrs) so that after 20 years my son will own the apt after my death and after the 20 yrs expires.

If that can be done, will it be automatic with no need to do another deed?

Expert:  Phillips Esq. replied 1 year ago.

I have not seen that kind of deed for 20 years. However, I do not practice in Florida. So, I am going to opt out to see if a Florida Attorney may be able to answer your follow-up question.

Best wishes,

Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Any referral to an attorney near N. lauderdale, Fl 33068 would also be appreciated if one can be located. Thank you.

Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for requesting me. Sorry that your previous expert left the conversation.

You can do this in a couple of ways in FL. You can do this with an "enhanced life estate deed" or more commonly called a Lady Bird Deed. This type of deed allows you to possess the property for life and it passes on death to your beneficiaries. The good thing about this deed rather than a deed transferring it to your beneficiaries now and retaining a life estate would be that you as owner can change your mind on the beneficiaries on a Lady Bird Deed. The Lady Bird deed allows you to not have to probate the property, it passes to your named beneficiary at death.

Unfortunately, what you want to do, leave it to your son and leave your ex and then to your son after 20 years would best be accomplished by a real estate trust, preferably an irrevocable one to gain the creditor protection in that no creditor can touch your property in an irrevocable trust and that it is not counted towards your assets should you need long term care. However, either way placing the property in trust with your son as trustee for benefit of you until your death and then your ex for 20 years or her death whichever comes first and then your son after that time would accomplish what you want to do. The nice thing with a trust is you can set any terms you want in the trust AND you need to put an "anti-terroram" clause in the trust which is a "No Contest" clause whereby anyone who challenges the trust can never benefit from it.

The trust is more flexible and gives you the opportunity to do what you want. If you do not want to use the trust, then the Lady Bird Deed will let you retain a life estate and making your son and ex joint beneficiaries on your death (they cannot have a clause like you suggest though they would have to share ownership as joint tenants with right of survivorship, meaning upon your death it goes to them and upon your ex's death your son becomes sole owner).