I’ve been with my second husband for five years. We currently reside in the home that I purchased more than 20 years ago; the mortgage is also in my sole name.
We divide the remaining expenses, with me paying somewhat more for utilities. He pays me little less than half the amount of my mortgage. He helps out with some of the labor, but I am also responsible for all maintenance and renovations to the house.
He has adult children, too, and I have an adult child and a grandson. I’d prefer to give my house to my child, but I’d let my spouse stay there till he passes away or for as long as he’d like. My estate would be used to pay off the mortgage.
Who should pay the annual taxes and homeowner’s insurance costs? I’m thinking about leaving money for maintenance expenses like a new roof or air conditioning, as well as a specific request to my husband to pay for it.
On whether he should receive a portion of the house, my husband and I differ. He believes he is contributing to the mortgage. When he passes away, I don’t want his children to inherit a share of the house, and I don’t want my child to have to pay them off.
What is the most equitable way to accomplish this?
Your husband entered your life at night. Your marriage has lasted five years. Long before you met your husband, you purchased your home 20 years ago, and you have since worked arduously to pay it off. Giving him a life estate in your home after five years of marriage, allowing him to remain there without paying rent, is kind.
Your spouse committed to pay you a sum that is equal to 50% of the mortgage’s worth, but he is only paying rent instead of half your mortgage, for better or worse, for richer or worse. As harsh as it may sound, it is his duty to purchase a home for himself so that his children will inherit it.
Given that your inheritance would pay off the mortgage, it is only fair that your spouse pay for maintenance of the house, homeowners insurance, property taxes, and other expenses if he is living there. An attorney who specializes in estate planning and trusts should work out every minute detail.
According to the Winston Law Group, “the life estate avoids probate because the real estate flows directly to the children upon the death of the life tenant.” Although there is a five-year transfer penalty period for Medicaid at the nursing facility level, the life estate can also shield the house from a Medicaid lien upon death.
Cons also exist. According to Ross & Shoalmire, the beneficiary has few options for protecting their future investment if the life tenant neglects the property and it goes into ruin. The house will not be transferred to the heirs until the life tenant passes away, in the event that they become disabled and require nursing care.
There is no ideal answer. For instance, your children would have to wait to inherit the property until your husband went away if they needed money after you passed away. But if you create a life estate in the coming months, it will give your husband a place to live for the rest of his life.
Following five years of marriage, that’s not a bad deal.
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