MSN News reports that his heirs will save $600 million in estate tax as a result of his dying in a year with no estate tax. It will be interesting to see what if any impact this has on federal tax law and whether any legislators now seek to retroactively pass a bill that puts back an estate tax for this year as there had been some talk after a Texas billionaire with about $9b died earlier this year.
A Florida Enhanced Life Estate Deed also known as a lady bird deed can be a helpful document to avoid probate and get a step up in basis while also having the property pass directly to the beneficiaries and no need to run the creditor period of an estate.
If real estate is put into the trust that is subject to the creditor claims period of an estate for two years following the date of death of the decedent or the greater of 90 days after publication of notice to creditors for unknown or not reasonably ascertainable creditors or 30 days after service for creditors which are known or should be known about. In order to run the creditor period prior to the two years though a probate would need to be done.
An Enhanced life estate however is not subject to the creditor claims period and could pass directly to the named beneficiaries who could then more easily and quickly sell it.
Prior to making any changes to deeds owners should check with a mortgage company and confirm they will not invoke a due on sale clause if they have a mortgage.
The Enhanced Life Estate Deed allows the owner to continue to own total control over the property in their sole name and without and liability to remainder beneficiaries who actually have no interest in the property until the passing of the life tenant. If that person dies the remainder if any passes outright to the person they designate or equally to the people who are named as the remainder beneficiaries.
In a typical year it would then receive a full step up in basis to the date of death value.
An enhanced life estate deed can have various advantages such as tax, asset protection, owner protection among its benefits over a regular life estate or just putting someone else on the title to avoid probate. As previously mentioned it does not have the same creditor period as the trust.