A life estate is an ownership interest in a piece of property, like a house or a condo, that lasts for the life of a named person, but ends on that person’s death.
He or she need not live in the property and use it as his or her home, but can rent it out full or part time or even sell the life interest in the property.
Can a life tenant sell the property?
A life tenant does not have the right to sell the property outright, but he or she can sell her life interest in the property. In that case, the buyer would own (and be responsible for) the property for the rest of the life tenant’s life. A life tenant can also rent or lease the property.
Who owns the property in a life estate?
A life estate deed is a legal document that changes the ownership of a piece of real property. The person who owns the real property (in this example, Mom) signs a deed that will pass the ownership of the property automatically upon her death to someone else, known as the “remainderman” (in this example, Son).
What is a life tenant entitled to?
One who holds a life estate. A life tenant has all rights associated with ownership of real property, except the right to sell the property, until his/her (or someone else’s) death. Upon the death of the life tenant, the property reverts back to the owner, or to a third party designated by the owner.
Can a life estate be revoked?
Life estates, therefore, are typically used to keep property from being transferred through the process of probate. Importantly, a life estate cannot be revoked. Therefore, once a person sets up his or her ownership of a property in a life estate, he or she cannot sell or otherwise dispose of the home.