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Real Estate Law | Trusts can protect family assets after a death

By ERIC P. FEICHTHALER - Real Estate Law | Jan 26, 2024

Eric P. Feichthaler

Dear Mr. Feichthaler,

I own a home in Cape Coral with no mortgage, and I want the value to transfer to my son. I am concerned because my son is receiving government assistance, and if he inherits the value of the property, he may become ineligible. Is there anything I can do?

Angie H.

Dear Angie,

Protecting the value of your home is a vital goal for all of us. Congratulations on having substantial equity that you wish to bestow upon your son on passing.

Although I do not know the specific benefits your son is receiving, I can speak generally on your options. Taking your comments to mean he would not be living there, but would benefit from the value of a future sale, forming a special needs trust would furnish you with the desired result. If you pass the property directly to your son, either through a probate estate or life estate deed, his direct ownership could create ineligibility for certain benefits. Instead, if you form a trust that addresses his special needs, you can tailor this trust to provide for your son’s benefit, without him actually taking possession of the assets. My clients form trusts for a variety of reasons, including your situation, children with substantial debt, or in situations where there are concerns about the funds being squandered.

Planning for the value of your home and other assets to benefit your loved ones is an important task, albeit one that many put off, sometimes permanently. I encourage you to seek professional advice to prepare a trust best suited for your situation.

Eric P. Feichthaler has lived in Cape Coral for over 35 years and graduated from Mariner High School in Cape Coral. After completing law school at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., he returned to Cape Coral to practice law and raise a family. He served as mayor of Cape Coral from 2005-2008, and continues his service to the community through the Cape Coral Caring Center, and Cape Coral Kiwanis. He has been married to his wife, Mary, for 22 years, and they have four children. He earned his board certification in Real Estate Law from the Florida Bar, and primarily practices in real estate law and wills and trusts. He is AV Preeminent rated by Martindale-Hubbell for professional ethics and legal ability, and is a Supreme Court Certified Circuit Civil Mediator. He can be reached at eric@capecoralattorney.com, or 239-542-4733.

This article is general in nature and not intended as legal advice to anyone. Individuals should seek legal counsel before acting on any matter of legal rights and obligations.