Enhanced Life Estates

Enhanced life estate deeds have become a popular instrument in estate planning and to understand why it is important to first understand how they differ from a standard life estate.

In a standard life estate deed the grantor typically conveys the property to another person (the remainderman) and retains a life tenancy for themselves (the life tenant). This allows the allows the grantor to convey the property to the remainderman but retain the full use of the property for the benefit of the life tenant during their lifetime. The life tenant in a standard life estate cannot convey an interest in the property without the approval and joinder of the remainderman.

An enhanced life estate differs from a standard life estate in that it only not only allows life tenant the full use and enjoyment of the property during their lifetime, but also reserves in the life tenant the right to sell, convey, lease, mortgage or otherwise manage and dispose of the property during their lifetime without the joinder of the remainderman. For obvious reasons, many individuals find the ability to retain these powers during their lifetime very desirable.

If you have any questions about enhanced life estates or any other estate planning or probate matters please do hesitate to give us a call at (305) 445-5351.

FIRPTA increase in withholding rate

Effective as February 16, 2016 the general withholding rate under the Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act of 1980 (“FIRPTA”) was increased from 10% to 15%. FIRPTA is a tax law that imposes income tax on foreigners disposing of real property interests in the United States.

Until recently, 10% of the sales price was withheld from the sale by a foreigner to cover potential tax liability. The general withholding rate has now been increased. The 10% withholding rate will still apply in certain instances if specific exemption criteria are met but the general withholding going forward will now be 15%.