Life Estate Reserved (Gift of Remainder)
With a life estate, a charity receives a gift of property — often a personal residence or other real estate — and the donor benefits through the retention of the right to use the property for his or her lifetime. This helps donors who may desire to leave their house or farm to charity at death, but would like a current tax benefit, as well as the ability to continue to use the property. A life estate especially benefits older donors who have enough liquid assets available for living expenses and desire a current income tax deduction.
A donor executes a deed transferring a house or farm to charity. In the deed, the donor retains a “life estate” — the right to live in the home and use it for life. At the time of the gift, the donor and charity also enter into a MIT (maintenance, insurance and taxes) agreement specifying the donor’s responsibilities with respect to the home — including the payment of maintenance, insurance and taxes.