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Damages caused by Life Estate Deeds. Consider risks before transferring property

Posted by attorney John Roberts

A widow sued her lawyer and won a $100,000 verdict in Hampden County Superior Court in September, 2013 because she and her late husband did not use a Life Estate deed to transfer property to their children.

An Expert Witness Opinion in the case convinced the jury the widow had suffered damages.

The legal expert explained how a Life Estate deed could have included a “Power of Appointment” that lets a person keep some control over property after it is transferred.

But unexpected problems have caused emotional distress for other people who used Life Estate deeds to transfer their homes to children and other family members.

You can read an article about some of the risks you take if you use a Life Estate deed at

Emotional distress caused by a problematic life estate transfer can hit at the worst possible time: when the family is experiencing grief over the loss of a family member.

Experiencing Grief is the title of a booklet that some of our probate and estate settlement clients have found to be helpful.

In December, 2013 the judge in the Hampden County case threw out the $100,000 damages award because it was based on emotional distress, and the widow has appealed.

To protect yourself and your family, consider alternatives to Life Estate deeds. Take the first step toward carefully planning your estate with an Inventory that lists legal ownership information and totals the value of your assets.

This Video Podcasts does not provide any legal advice. The Video Podcast is limited to general information and resources pertaining to Hampden County, Massachusetts. You can't rely on general information in a Video Podcast to make decisions about your specific case. You should consult a professional in your local area to discuss the facts of your specific case. Small differences in law, regulations and practice can cause big differences in how each matter is handled in different States and jurisdictions.

I serve clients in Hampden County, Massachusetts. There is no attorney-client relationship with viewers of these video podcasts, or with people who view my websites on Elder Law-Medicaid and Estate Planning-Real Estate

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