What is a Life Estate?

Many clients approach us to discuss the possibility of using a life estate in their estate planning.  This post is designed to give an basic overview of the life estate. As always, please come in for a consult or schedule an appointment with your family attorney prior to changing your deeds or estate plan.

The life estate scheme divides ownership of a piece of real property between at least two parties—the Life Tenant and the Remainderman.  The Life Tenant holds ownership and enjoys the use of the property for the duration of his or her life.  The Life Tenant is responsible for the taxes, insurance, upkeep, and other expenses related to the property during his lifetime and has a duty to reasonably maintain the property while it is in his care. At the death of the Life Tenant, ownership of the property passes directly to the Remainderman (there may be one or multiple remainderman), who then owns the property outright.

A life estate can be useful in estate planning, as it is one way to keep real property from passing through the probate process.  A life estate can also be used in Medicaid planning, but this is often a risky proposition.  A life estate interest is often not included when figuring Medicaid assets, but it’s important to remember that there is a five-year look back period on transfers of this type that can often trigger a penalty.  There can also be tax implications associated with creating a life estate.

Other problems can arise in the context of a life tenancy.  In a life estate, the Life Tenant and the Remainderman are technically co-owners, so no one person has complete control over the property.  A conflict often starts when the Life Tenant fails to pay taxes on time or does not care for the property to the standards of the Remainderman.  Selling the property can also become complicated, as each interest holder may only sell what he owns.  In other words, the Life Tenant is only able to sell a life tenancy, and a Remainderman is only able to sell what will be his upon the death of the Life Tenant.  All interest holders would be required to agree to and sign off on a sale of the property in order to transfer full ownership.

Creating a life estate can be easy, but dealing with one can be difficult.  You should always consult an attorney to understand all of the pros and cons before executing a deed that creates a life estate.

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77 Responses to What is a Life Estate?

  1. Christina Nix says:

    If the Life Tenant fails to pay the property taxes, is that grounds to terminate the Life Estate?

  2. In South Carolina, a life estate is generally terminated when the life estate owner, or another specified person, dies. Some life estates specify one or more other conditions, known as conditional limitations, which cause the life estate to be terminated, such as when the life estate owner leaves the home for six months or more. A life estate document specifies when the life estate terminates. While the life estate owner has a duty (in most cases) to pay the taxes, this alone may not be enough to terminate the interest. In order to confirm the best way to protect the property from a tax sale and advance the interest of those holding the remainder, I would suggest carefully reviewing the document that created the life estate and providing it to an attorney for a consult on your rights.

  3. Terry McCormick says:

    If the life tenant loses a lawsuit and has a judgement entered against him or her, can the plaintiff seize the life estate from the life tenant? Are there any rules specific to Dorchester County, SC?

  4. me and my sister own a house its my moms life estate she’s in a nursing home under Medicaid . Are they entitled to the house

  5. I would need more information to be sure I answer this question properly. How long did your mother live in the home? Did she create the life estate or was that done when she received the property through inheritance?

    The deed into a life estate can trigger a Medicaid ineligibility period of up to five years. To avoid a transfer penalty the individual purchasing the life estate must actually reside in the home for at least one year after the purchase.

  6. Melanie Shullo says:

    I have a similar question regarding a Life Estate. Under what circumstances, if any, other than death – can a life estate be revoked or terminated?

    THank you for your time

  7. Walt Britten says:

    Hello,

    My sister and I are remainder men or grantees in my fathers life estate established for my father in 2013. In 2015, my father decided to remarry. He was not married when deedwas established.His wife got him to sign and have notarised a statement saying she could remain in the home upon his death. Does the marriage affect the life estate deed. If it does not,what’s the legal way to have her removed? And does the notarised statement have any weight?

    Walter Britten?

  8. Karen L.Poole says:

    I have a Life estate with my brother he has not paid the taxes in the last six years and has not paid for home owners insurance. The roof leaks it is going to fall in on his head. The town we live in is about to send him a fine for not cutting the grass. Will I be fined as well?

  9. A few clarifications . . . do you hold the remainder and he has the life estate or do you have a joint life estate? Was this life estate created by a will or deed? It’s often helpful to refer to the documents to understand the rights and responsibilities. Unfortunately, I can’t answer the question about the fine without a better understanding of the above.

  10. Cheryl A. Elliott says:

    My grandmother established a life estate for my father and uncle. My father predeceased my grandmother; my uncle is still living. At the time of my father’s death, he was divorcing his wife, but the paperwork was never signed so she is still legally his wife. My father has four children. He did not leave a will. What happens to his portion of the property? Does it revert back to my grandmother? Is it divided between his wife and his children? Or is the wife now the sole owner of his portion of the property?

  11. Cheryl – I would prefer to review the documents before giving a comprehensive answer as I’m not sure exactly what you’re asking. Was the life estate for your grandmother (as opposed to your uncle and father) and they were to receive the remainder at her death? If the life estate was actually for your uncle and father then who is to get the remainder at their death? Please feel free to email me at Tiffany@ProvenceMesservy.com to clarify and I will attempt to give more information.

  12. Tiffany, Thank you for all the info you have provided previously and to questions presented.

    My question is that my Mother’s home has already been deeded to me over ten years ago and she continues to live there. Of course in this situation, the homestead exemption was lost.

    After speaking with the property tax office they suggested I get a life estate deed. How can this happen since the property is already in my name.

    My Mother continues to live in the home full time since transferring the deed. And as usual, back when the transfer was made we had in mine Medicade. She is 93 and still in good shape, but I don’t want to get back under the 5 year transfer problem with Medicade.

    I would appreciate any advice you might could give and if there is a way to solve this problem, I would be glad to involve your services professionally.

    Note: The taxes tripled during this time.

    Have a Blessed weekend. Buddy

  13. Buddy –

    This is a common question and you’ve already spotted some of the potential issues with regards to Medicaid and the look-back provisions. When deciding how to move forward, you have to weigh the increased costs of the taxes against the risks of incurring issues with long term care planning.

    That being said, the deed being in your name does not prohibit the creation of a life estate. You would simply be giving your mother a life estate in your property so that she can claim the 4% until her death. If we can help you, please reach out to David Causey in our office as he is our resident deed guru! He can be reached at 843-871-9500.

  14. Mott J. Shockley says:

    My husband & I own our home. We have one child, we were told we could establish a Life Estate without losing our Homestead exemption status. We would live at the home & continue to pay the taxes, will we lose our exemption status? What do we legally have to do. The deed is now in both me & my husband’s names.

  15. The information you received is correct. If you keep a life estate in your name you can continue to claim the 4% homestead. To do this, you simply need to contact an attorney who drafts deeds. David Causey in our office handles these. It’s best if you can provide the attorney with a copy of your current deed from the ROD/RMC office or your closing documents. All that being said, there are many reasons why you would NOT want to deed your home in this fashion so make sure you consult with an attorney before making the decision. The age of your child, their marital status, their estate plan and other issues need to be discussed so you understand both the positives and negatives of this tool.

  16. My husbands mother has a life estate with my husband and his brother listed as remaindermen. Their mother lives I an assisted living facility. The home is visited occasionally by the mother. It is listed as her primary residence. The brother and his wife want to move into the house. Can this be allowed? Who has control over making those decisions? Should all three people in the life estate agree on this plan? Thank you.

  17. Pamela Mouser says:

    My Mom’s home is in a life estate to me and was originated in May of 2010. I would like to sell this home and buy her another home that is closer to me. What tax implications will I assume if we sell her home? How is that amount calculated? If I buy her another home and she is a co-owner does that exempt us from any taxes? If she gifts me $60,000 towards the down payment of her new home is she responsible for taxes on that money?

    Bottom line, I am trying to decide if I should make her a co-borrower or not because of the life estate. Not worried about the owner/non-owner occupied tax rate just basically the lump taxes I/we would be liable for next year.

  18. I apologize but I’m a little confused when you say her home is “in a life estate to me.” Do you mean that she holds a life estate and you are the sole owner upon her death?

    Assuming that’s the case, is your mom incapacitated? Are you functioning as her power of attorney? Will there be a significant capital gain on the home? Lots of questions that an attorney will need answered in order to point you in the right direction. If easier, you can email us at Tiffany@ProvenceMesservy.com as we don’t check the blog daily.

  19. Bree Stutts says:

    My question is this:
    In South Carolina, what does the law state about the sell of a life estate property before the life tenant dies. It is my understanding that a life estate tenant holds value according to a life estate calculator depending on the age of the person.

    Example – If someone had a life estate in a property, that upon their death was to be divided equally among two of their children, and they all three decided to sell the property. Then what would be the division of the proceeds from the sale of the property? And who would receive the 1099?

  20. Thanks for writing and for reading our blog. Your answer is correct. If all parties wish to sell, value is decided based on the age of the life tenant, life expectancy and sales price formula. That being said, nothing prohibits parties from simply agreeing to an amount outside of the formula; however, there are other questions that must be addressed if that life tenant (or any party for that matter) is receiving benefits, has creditors, etc. If they receive much less, it might be considered a gift. If they receive too much, they might loose benefits. As for the tax question, we don’t handle tax issues and it’s our standard practice to refer our clients to their CPA (or our CPA) to get clarity on tax consequences BEFORE the sale. In general, you can expect each party will be responsible for their share of the taxable gain.

  21. Loretta says:

    My daughter in law’s father passed away and she will inherit his home. She wants me and my husband to move into the home to be closer to her and my grandchildren. She is not asking to buy the home or even rent the home, she is just allowing us to live in the home. How will a life tenancy work with her allowing us to live there but making sure property goes back to her if or when should die. Also, will this protect me and my husband from being evicted should she and my son divorce.

  22. Great question. Yes, a life estate can be a useful tool in this situation as it would allow you and your husband to live on the property until death without fear of being evicted, charged rent, etc. However, you/your husband and your DIL absolutely MUST discuss this plan with your CPA before moving forward. There can be significant tax consequences to this type of strategy. All parties need to understand what those are before moving forward. You also need to know what your responsibilities will be (legally) with regards to maintenance, taxes and upkeep of the property during your tenancy. Your estate attorney can assist you with understanding those issues. Life estates can be great but should be entered in to with understanding and caution.

  23. Laura Hilton says:

    My Mother In Law held a Life Estate with her son, my husband, until his death in June 2008. The Life Estate remaining interest was then transferred to myself and my two daughters through probate of my husbands estate. My Mother In Law entered a nursing home in October 2013. We applied for medicaid for my Mother in Law in January 2016. In South Carolina, is Medicaid going to be able to claim any rights to her home upon her death to recover medicaid costs? I signed a paper notifying us that Medicaid would place a lien against her estate upon her death. Does Medicaid in SC include the home even if it doesn’t pass through probate?

  24. Laura –

    It seems as if the original gift of the life estate (which I must assume was prior to 2008) is beyond the Medicaid look back period. When you apply for Medicaid, any gifts or transfers of assets made within five years (60 months) of the date of application are subject to penalties. Any gifts or transfers of assets made greater than 5 years of the date of application are not subject to penalties.

    As for a lien against your mother-in-law’s estate, this would not impact the life estate property. In South Carolina a life estate transfers at death and is therefore a non-probate asset. The lien will only attach to those assets which pass through her estate at the time of her death.

    If I have assumed any facts incorrectly, please feel free to send us a private email at Inquiry@ProvenceMesservy.com as these replies are meant only as general advice based on the limited facts presented.

  25. Laura Hilton says:

    Thank you for answering my questions. It seems you confirm what I have believed.

  26. Kevin Hill says:

    Step mom has life estate in dads paid for house who passed away. Deed is in his name only. Will says she can live there until her death then the house goes to me. She found out she has a life estate interest of about 50% based on IRS tables and wants to sell it to get the money instead of living there until she passes away. Does the remainder, me, have to agree to the sale in order for that to happen?

  27. Thanks for commenting Kevin. Generally, a life estate only gives the life tenant the right to remain in the home as long as he/she pleases. Just like other gifts, if the receiver does not wish to accept the gift of the life estate, they don’t have to do so, but they can’t force another to buy the gift from them.

    An agreement to sell is not guaranteed and the person holding the remainder can’t (generally) be required to purchase the life tenant out of their interest. That being said, there are circumstances where this can be advantageous or a potential solution to costly litigation or when a court might order a sale for other reasons. Please feel free to email us at Inquiry@ProvenceMesservy.com if you need a specific answer based on the unique facts of your situation.

  28. Tonia says:

    Hello. We have family property originally divided between 11 siblings (of which there is now only 1 surviving sibling, but children of the other 10). No homes exist on this property, only timber. The option of selling the timber has come up and the company offering to purchase has asked for all children from each branch to provide a power of attorney or notarized document to give permission to proceed. Because most of the children no longer live in area, there is one family member who does live in county who has managed the property over past years for tax purposes. We don’t think there should be any opposition with other family members, but we don’t know if this matter can be resolved simply with a DPOA found online or if we should proceed differently. Can you please advise? Thank you so much.

  29. I’m sure you’re hoping for a simply reply but the truth is that there are many potential issues with this type of property ownership. While a simple POA to the one family member who has managed the property might work right now (if everyone signs it), there are several issues that need to be decided before you begin generating income from this property. Will all owners share equally in the proceeds or will the manager receive any fees for his/her time and services? What happens when the timber company issues one tax document – who will guarantee everyone pays their share? What if one member refuses to consent? As has happened with the original owners, what happens with the death, divorce or disappearance of any of the other owners? If everyone is truly on the same page with this property, NOW is the time to consider putting the property in some sort of family trust or other entity to address all of these issues! If you don’t, imagine the issues that will arise for the next generation and the one after that. At the very least, you need more detailed documents that address specifically what this one family member can and can not do without everyone else’s consent!

  30. Rog says:

    I have lived in a home for 10 years with a life estate deed and have satisfied the five ‘look back’ law. I will be selling that house and purchasing a new home as my residence.

    I will be applying for a life estate deed on the new home. Because I have satisfied the look back period on my old home, will this transfer to the new home, or do I have start over on the look back period?

  31. Rog says:

    I have lived in a home for 10 years with a life estate deed and have satisfied the five ‘look back’ law. I will be selling that house and purchasing a new home as my residence.

    I will be applying for a life estate deed on the new home. Because I have satisfied the look back period on my old home, will this transfer to the new home, or do I have start over on the look back period?

    I am in North Charleston–Charleston County.

  32. Unfortunately, I don’t know who your transferring the remainder interest in the the home to. There are some exceptions to the Medicaid ineligibility period. A few examples include if the remainder interest is going to:

    1) The applicant’s spouse
    2) A child who is under age 21 or who is blind or disabled
    3) A trust for the sole benefit of a disabled individual under age 65
    4) A “caretaker child,” who has lived in the house for at least two years prior to the applicant’s institutionalization and who during that period provided care that allowed the applicant to avoid a nursing home stay.

    There are other exceptions but if you do not meet one of them I’m afraid that the purchase of a new home will be considered a new transaction and will trigger a new look back period.

    I hope this was helpful.

  33. Mel says:

    I am the beneficiary of a will and have inherited a home with a life estate deed, in which I will soon reside. The life estate deed has satisfied the look back period.

    My adult son will inherit my property when I pass. Do I inherit the life estate part of the deed or do I have to satisfy a new look back period?

  34. Bonnie Arnold says:

    In 2005 my husband’s mother decided to write a will. She was in the hospital at the time and was unsure about her health and asked my husband to get a generic Will that a person could fill out. So he did and that day she did the talking and he did the writing. After she was finished he had the notary from the hospital and some of the employees witness and notarize her Will. She passed away in Jan. 2006. My husband was executor and personal representative of her estate and he filed with Probate. She was owner of 2 different properties. In her Will she wanted one property to be sold and any monies after debts paid to go to her youngest child, my husband’s brother. His mother’s wishes were followed and that’s what my husband did the the money. His brother received $50,000. after all debts were paid. In her Will she also wanted her daughter to continue to live in the other property until her death. Which is what she did. In the event of her death then that property would pass to remaining siblings. My husbands brother passed away in 2010 and his sister passed just this year in Jan. The Assessors office is telling us that this is a life estate and he doesn’t own all of the property. That his brother’s wife and daughter own his half. Calling my husband and his brother “remaindermen”. There was never any Life estate filed while his mother was still alive. Can you explain how they came to the assumption that it is. His mother was very adamant that she did not want husbands, wives, or children of her children to have any part or ownership in the property. Can you explain? Does my husband have a leg to stand on as far as getting total ownership? Thank you for your time.

  35. Bonnie –

    A life estate can be created in multiple ways. The first way is during the owner’s lifetime whereby they change the actual deed to convey both a life interest and remainder interest. Many people do this as part of an estate plan. The second way is through a will whereby the Decedent gives on person the right to live in the property for life and then grants the remainder to others. Your question makes it sound like we are dealing with the second scenario, but is it possible that this deed was created in a way that was contrary to the will beforehand?

    Unfortunately, we would need to look at the deed that was in place prior to your mother in law’s death and the will to understand how a life estate was created according to the Assessor. With those two documents, we could easily tell him how to proceed.

  36. Joe says:

    I am from SC and my dad recently passed away in March with a will. In the will, and my step mother was granted a conditional life estate with me as sole remainder as I am the only blood child he has. The conditions were 1. She were to remain unmarried 2. She were to keep the home as her primary residence 3. She couldn’t have anyone of the opposite sex not related by blood or marriage living there (i.e. she cant shack up with new boyfriend). If any of these 3 are not met, I become sole and immediate owner with full possession forever amen. This was very clearly and plainly addressed in Item 5 of the will. Her lawyer, who is also handling the probate of the will, sent a letter stating she does not wish to stay in the home and wants to force a sale of the home via partition action if I don’t agree to the sale. I dont want to sale and I surely dont want to buy her out to keep the property when I feel I she doesn’t want it then it’s mine as the will states . What is the likelihood that the York County SC probate court will grant her the partition sale of the life estate even though the life estate is conditional upon her having the home as her primary residence? The way I read the will is she doesn’t have to stay, and thats her choice, but the property is to become mine with no compensation due to her if she chooses not to. Also it seems to me that just for filing for the forced partition action is clearly a violation of condition 2 of her life estate and should effectively terminate it. The filing will make it public record she doesn’t want the life estate. I don’t care if she stays or not but her lawyer insists that she is due around 77% of the home value according to the IRS valuation tables. I have researched the tables and found that to be accurate due to her age if the court grants the partition. I would like to retain the property for future use by my children. The home is 100% paid for and worth about $185 to 200k. It seems she doesnt like the terms and conditions of her life estate and wants to circumvent those conditions via partition and still be compensated. I dont want to sale and dont think I should be forced to, but could possibly negotiate a higher percentage if I allow her to avoid litigation if there is a chance I could lose. Any advice on how to proceed is greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

  37. John Hawkins says:

    For 40 years my father owned 3 Exxon service stations in South Carolina.He passed away in 1987 leaving then to my mother to operate in his will.12 years ago my mother sold the last remaining station to a friend knowing the ground was contaminated by a leak in an underground gasoline tank.4 years ago she received a letter from DHEC which said a test may be performed to determine if such tank had leaked gasoline in the past.Immediately she notified her grandson,my nephew,who is an attorney in Atlanta asking what she should do.She was terrified thinking she may loose everything she owned if DHEC and the man who bought the station sued her in a court of law.He advised her to execute a life estate with himself and my sister in law as the remaindermen.This life estate took away my inheritance seeing that I worked for my family for 35 years as a son.8 years ago I moved in with my mother as my brother got married.Since then I have washed all our clothes,vacuumed her house,washed her car and maintained the outside of her house.Now she has dementia and still I have no help from any family member pertaing to the house or any financial matter which may arise in her behalf.Can I contest this life estate seeing that it was written to protect her from civil and criminal liability ? Thank you.Sincerely John Hawkins.

  38. Debbie says:

    My sons father passed away in South carolina, my son is of age. His dad was remarried, supposedly his father and his stepmom created a will when our son was a young teen. My son was told that his stepmom was left everything and that she is also the executor. She has not shown my son any paperwork ect.. Is my son who is the only heir entitled to anything? Does he need to seek the advice of a probate attorney or is this not an option ? We are in another state.

  39. John – Thank you for your comment. This goes beyond the understanding of a life estate and involves several complex legal issues including your nephew’s conflict of interest in giving legal advice that personally benefitted himself, the potential need for a conservator and more. I would suggest you immediately consult a probate attorney to provide you with a consult. I can’t stress enough that this needs to be done immediately as waiting until she passes could close the door on several legal actions. Should you choose to get a consult with an attorney in our office, I suggest David Causey. He handles many of our life estate and related issues.

  40. Debbie –

    First and most importantly, probate files (and the wills in them) are public record. Your son should IMMEDIATELY contact the Probate Court where his father resided and get a copy of the file to confirm what his step-mother is saying. If the will does name her as both executor (a.k.a. PR / Personal Representative) and sole beneficiary, then your son must determine if there are any grounds upon which he can contest the will. This will certainly require an attorney. If the will does not disinherit your son, he would be wise to file a demand for notice form with the Court so they are aware of his existence and interest in the file. Should he decide to consult with an attorney, many will do this by phone since he is out of state. Our attorneys currently offer a phone consult for $60 for up to one hour of time. Should he decide to get legal counsel, we would be honored to consult with him on his rights. We have several attorneys who handle this type of issue including David Causey and Virginia Spencer.

  41. Joe – I apologize for the delay. For some reason your comment was sent to a potential spam folder that is not checked often. I am hopeful that you have found legal counsel to address your question. If not, please send an email to our office at Inquiry@ProvenceMesservy.com.

  42. John Hawkins says:

    Thank you so much Tiffany.After working most weeks 70 to 80 hours and most holidays alone I believe I’m entitled to at least half of my mothers estate.Also in the last 3.5 years ive had 9 surgeries due to my work.My orthopedic surgeon refers to me as his Bionic Refugee, alone in a world where he never dreamed he would be .Ill contact your reference tomorrow.

  43. Elaine says:

    Tiffany,

    My dad signed a Life Estate of his home/property to me and my sister 7 years ago. He remarried this past Fall and has abandoned the home. He hasn’t lived there for over 6 months. We are ready to see the house/property. Do the three of us have to agree to sell and agree to who gets the proceeds from the sale by percentage? Thanks!

  44. Elaine –

    Thank you for your comment. If your father is still alive, he has to agree to the sale of the property. There are various formulas that can be used to determine what he is entitled to (I prefer the IRS recommended formula) or the three parties can reach an agreement on the same. To clarify, there are certain situations where abandonment would change this answer (such as a will imposing terms to the life estate), but I don’t believe they apply in the facts you have presented.

  45. Kevin says:

    My wife’s farther died in March 2016. He left her step mother life rights to the house and the property. He also left a lot of cash in the house that my wife’s set mother went and put in a safety deposit box. I guess that will be gone forever. In the will he stated that the tractor, utv’s, and all equipment remain with the estate for my wife. We found out last week her step mom tried to sale a wood chipper with out consulting with my wife. I gave my wife a list naming each tractor,utv, mowers, and the chipper by manufacturers name and specifying what they are. The chipper is worth around $10,000. They had to go to the lawyers office last week so his business partner could write the checks for the life insurance policies. Her mother in law got the lions share. My wife gave this list of farm equipment to the lawyer because her step mom has not provided my wife a copy of the inventory of probate and to specific what equipment was supposed to be her’s after her step mom dies. Her step mom got pissed when the lawyer told her to sign the inventory sheet my wife had. We are not sure why she wanted to sale it because she ended up close to 2millon in cash and assets. She also went and purchased a Mercedes Benz. This was not my father in laws life style he was a simple man. He had only purchased one new car in his life. He also changed his will about a year after he found out he had terminal cancer. He passed about 8 months later.
    My wire is his only living blood child he had three step sons.
    Our sons are his only blood grandchildren were not listed in the will.
    What can we do to protect my wife’s inheritance which will be hers after her step mom passes and is there anything we can do for our sons. Her step brothers are leeches one of them stays in a mobile home on the farm which was my father in laws and can remain as long as pay the tax,utilities and maintains it.
    Her step mom will not take her calls after she provided the inventory sheet with the chipper on it.
    Does my wife or sons have any rights to anything more than what was listed in the will since they are my father in laws only blood line survivors. We are worried that her mother in law and sons are going to destroy the tractors and other equipment since see kinda called he out about selling the chipper.
    We were trying not to go to court over the will BUT.
    Her mother in law put on the good wife act until my father in law passed. A lawyer friend of mine called the will a poor farmers will.
    My father in law also sold my wife’s great ants house and he financed it for the buyer my wife’s step mother is getting the payments for that too and it was left in the will that way and it reverts to my wife upon her step mothers death. Her step mother also got his 401k which was around 300,000. My wife ended up wth about 250,000 total. My father in law I had always been close and he made sure I new everything about his property, personal business, and his will. I saw and read the original will before he found out he had cancer. When he change the will it was flipped from my wife getting larger portion to her step mother getting it. He step mother was with her father when he changed the will.
    Do you have any suggestions for my wife in this matter.

  46. Lynn says:

    My aunt owns 1/3 of a house and is also a life tenant. Three of my siblings and her son own 2/3. Does her son (also a remaindermen) get her 1/3 at her death, or does it all go to remaindermen?
    My cousin ( life tenant’s son and a remainderman) wants to rent to own the house. Does he need our ok?

  47. Lynn says:

    My cousin wants to rent to own the house to someone outside of family.

  48. Lynn,

    Unfortunately I can’t answer your question without reviewing the document that created the life tenancy for your Aunt. That document controls who gets the remainder. It also controls whether or not she can rent the home or must actually live in it during her life. If you have that document, please email us at Inquiry@ProvenceMesservy.com.

  49. Susie McNeely says:

    My oldest brother left m youngest brother the house to live in as long as he is alive, but he moved out and has not lived there or kept the property up. What steps to take to terminate the estate

  50. Thanks for your comment. The only person that can bring an action to terminate a life estate is the person / people who hold the remainder interest. In many instances when the property has been abandoned, this can be done by consent of the person who holds the life estate. If not, you will definitely need an attorney to help you move forward. David Causey in our office regularly handles these issues.

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