Can I gift my house to my daughter and still live in it?

Can I gift my house to my daughter and still live in it?

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Can I Gift My House to My Daughter and Still Live in It in New York?

Gifting your house to your daughter while retaining the right to live in it, commonly known as a “life estate with a remainder interest,” can be a complex legal transaction with significant implications. Before proceeding, it’s crucial to understand the process, tax considerations, and potential challenges involved.

Understanding a Life Estate

A life estate is a legal arrangement that allows an individual (the life tenant) to retain the right to occupy and use a property for the duration of their life. Upon the life tenant’s death, ownership of the property passes to another party, known as the remainderman or remainder beneficiary, typically designated in the deed.

When you gift your house to your daughter while retaining a life estate, you maintain the right to live in the property until your death. Upon your passing, ownership of the house automatically transfers to your daughter, as the remainder beneficiary.

The Process of Gifting a House with a Life Estate

To establish a life estate with your daughter, you’ll need to execute a deed that specifically outlines the terms of the arrangement. This deed should clearly specify:

  • The creation of a life estate in your favor
  • The designation of your daughter as the remainder beneficiary
  • The rights and responsibilities of both parties
  • Any conditions or restrictions associated with the life estate

It’s essential to consult with a qualified real estate attorney to ensure that the deed complies with New York state law and accurately reflects your intentions.

Tax Considerations

Transferring ownership of your house to your daughter, even with a retained life estate, may have tax implications. While there are no immediate tax consequences for gifting the property, your daughter may inherit the house with a stepped-up basis upon your death, potentially reducing capital gains taxes if she decides to sell the property in the future.

However, it’s crucial to consult with a tax advisor or estate planning attorney to fully understand the tax implications of transferring real estate ownership.

Potential Challenges

While a life estate can provide several benefits, including the ability to transfer property outside of probate and retain occupancy during your lifetime, it’s essential to consider potential challenges:

  • Loss of control: Once you transfer ownership of the property, you may lose control over its future use or disposition.
  • Family dynamics: Gifting property to one child may create tensions or conflicts among other family members.
  • Medicaid eligibility: Transferring property can affect your eligibility for Medicaid benefits, especially if you require long-term care in the future.


Transferring your house to your daughter while retaining a life estate can be a viable estate planning strategy, providing both benefits and potential challenges. It’s essential to consider your objectives carefully, consult with legal and financial professionals, and fully understand the implications before proceeding with such a transaction.

At Morgan Legal Group, we specialize in estate planning and real estate law in New York. Our experienced attorneys can provide personalized guidance and help you navigate the complexities of gifting property with a life estate.

DISCLAIMER: The information provided in this blog is for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. The content of this blog may not reflect the most current legal developments. No attorney-client relationship is formed by reading this blog or contacting Morgan Legal Group.

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