Trust, living will, or transfer now?

Trust, living will, or transfer now?
My father asked me to find out about putting a home he owns in trust to me as part of a living will… his purpose is to save the most on taxes. He believes that a trust will shield me from paying higher inheritance fees. Is this the best option we have? Would an immediate transfer of ownership have any benefit? I have been living in this home and paying the taxes for @13 years now since he moved out of state so except for the deed, it is my house.

3 thoughts on “Trust, living will, or transfer now?

  1. Re: Trust, living will, or transfer now?
    The easiest way to handle this situation is to have your father deed the house to himself and you as “joint tenants with rights of survivorship.” This way, when your father passes away, you will own the house outright. It will not pass through probate.

    Amy L. Finch, 845-362-0387
    Amy L. Finch, Attorney and Counselor at Law
    280 Midland Ave, Saddle Brook, NJ 07663
    P O Box 89, Theills, NY 10984

  2. Re: Trust, living will, or transfer now?
    It sounds like you need some estate planning help.

    Putting the home “in trust” will probably NOT save any inheritance taxes. There are special kinds of trusts that can own a personal residence which may save death taxes, but I can’t recommend something like this to you without knowing more of the facts.

    Jonathan Chester
    Lindabury, McCormick, Estabrook & Cooper, P.C.
    480 Morris Avenue
    Summit, NJ 07901

  3. Re: Trust, living will, or transfer now?
    I suggest that a new Deed be filed. For the consideration portion, you can reflect $1.00, so no realty transfer fee need be paid. Several comments to consider: (1) I would suggest your father acknowledge in writing that you have been living there for 13 years, paying all costs, etc. (2) He should also acknowledge in writing that the transfer, although a gift, has had the value reduced from its market value in recognition of your occupany and payment of all carrying charges. Some dollar amount should be recognized, so that any gift tax implications can be reduced by what you have paid to date. For example, if the house had a market value of $100M, this is its value for gift purposes. However, if you paid carrying charges of $50M, which he acknowledges, the gift for gift tax calculation is only $50M. No gift tax is payable on the first $10M and the value balance first reduces his lifetime exclusion (currently $675M) before any actual gift tax is paid. This will get the total value out of his potential taxable estate. (3) If he ever has an intention of returning, he should reserve a life estate in the Deed. This allows him the right of residency, but reduces the value of the gift. I can make additional recommendations and assist in the document preparation if you desire. You can contact me at 973-377-3313 or by e-mail as

    Walter LeVine
    Walter D. LeVine, P. A.
    23 Vreeland Road #102
    Florham Park, NJ 07932

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