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Homeowner could execute a life estate deed

July 27, 2018
By ERIC FEICHTHALER - Real Estate Law , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Mr. Feichthaler:

My husband and I lived together in Cape Coral until his passing in 2013. I own the home with no debt. I have met someone I have been dating for about four months now, and I really like him. He even paid for new carpeting throughout my house, so I think he will be with me for the long term. I want to show him my faith in him by adding him to the title of the house. What do you think?

- Cindy L.

Dear Cindy:

Thank you for this personal story, and it is great that you have found someone after losing your husband. Your question is as much a relationship question as real estate, and I am only board certified in the latter. However, I would always caution giving someone you have known for a few months a highly-valued asset like your home. By adding him to title, you are giving him half the value of the house. If you needed to sell the house in the future, not only could he be entitled to half the value, he also could refuse to sell. I can understand how you want to repay his generosity, but I suspect if he is a great guy, and he knows you aren't going to "take the carpet and run." Depending on your family, and whether you want the house to go to them if you died, you could execute a life estate deed that names your boyfriend as owner if you passed away. This deed allows you to revoke or amend the deed later, so if things don't work out, you won't be stuck owning a house with an ex-partner.

I suspect he appreciates you, even without adding him to title. We can revisit this a few years down the road, and hopefully your relationship will still be going strong.

Eric P. Feichthaler has lived in Cape Coral for 28 years and graduated from Mariner High School in Cape Coral. After completing law school at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., he returned to Southwest Florida to practice law and raise a family. He served as mayor of Cape Coral from 2005-2008, and continued his service to the community through his chairmanship of the Harney Point Kiwanis Club KidsFest from 2011-2015, which provides a free day of fun and learning to thousands of Cape Coral families, and funds numerous scholarships. He has been married to his wife, Mary, for 14 years, and they have four children together. Recently, he earned his board certification in Real Estate Law from the Florida Bar. He is also a Supreme Court Certified Circuit Civil Mediator.

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.



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