Beware Kids’ Creditors with Life Estate Deed
By James Haroutunian
Considering a life estate deed, as an inexpensive alternative to a Nursing Home Protection Trust? Think again.
If you put your kids on your deed, their creditors can lien your home. When your kids owe money, have an accident, get divorced or file bankruptcy, your home is involved as an asset subject to lien. This liability can extend even more.
Do you have grandchildren learning to drive? Accidents caused by grandchildren under 18 years old, will involve their parents. Assets in their parents’ name, including your home, are subject to lien in a resulting lawsuit.
Today, I finished a lengthy and expensive real estate sale, involving a home owned by seven children. One child filed bankruptcy five years ago, while owning his parents’ home, under a life estate deed. He never listed the house as an asset, because he never considered himself as the owner.
However, he should have listed the home as an asset in the old bankruptcy case. The process to untangle the mess today involved re-opening the old case in the bankruptcy court, and obtaining deed approval from the land court. It took months to fix, cost thousands of dollars, and caused everyone great frustration.
If the parents used a nursing home protection trust, instead of a life estate deed, there would be no problems. I really wish they used a trust.
Attorney James Haroutunian practices real-estate law, estate planning and probate at 630 Boston Road, Billerica. He gladly invites questions at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 978-671-0711. His website blog is found at www.hlawoffice.com .