Another disadvantage to life estates and enhanced life estates is that liens against a life tenant
will attach to the life tenant
's interest and will remain attached to the real property for which the life tenant
has an interest until the death of the life tenant
or a release is obtained, even if the life tenant
conveys his or her interest.
First, if any of the children who are beneficiaries upon the death of the life tenants
(i.e., the remaindermen) were to incur a lien (e.g., through a judgment), this could be filed against the property that is subject to the life estate.
For example, if actuarial tables indicate a 15-year life expectancy for the life tenant
, a 15-year discount period would be applied to the reversionary interest of the estate.
In Melms, the court specifically held that a life tenant
is entitled to make substantial alterations in a structure or even to demolish it, absent a contractual obligation to restore the property to the condition in which it was received, "when ...
If none of the preferred beneficiaries survives the distribution date, the trust will direct the corpus to a beneficiary or a set of beneficiaries certain to exist at the life tenant
's death: one or more established charities, the persons who would be the donor's heirs were the donor to have died when the life tenant
died, or the life tenant
The homestead "ownership" requirement under the Florida Constitution does not restrict the type of property ownership; therefore, a life tenant
can qualify for the homestead creditor exemption with his or her life estate.
230, 237-38 (1865) (life tenant
is entitled to recover damages from third party who has committed waste on the premises, if life tenant
had paid damages to remainder holder); Hood v.
If the remainderman has no surviving descendants, the remainder fails, and on the life tenant
's death the property passes to the testator's residuary devisees or to the settlor's heirs.
Thus, as property values have soared--to the benefit of the remainder beneficiaries--the costs of maintaining the properties have also soared--to the detriment of the life tenants--with no relief in sight for the life tenants
. This situation has created significant inequities in the life tenant
and remaindermen relationships.
If the property were transferred subject to an existing mortgage with no assumption of the liability by the remaindermen, the transferor (life tenant
) would remain liable for the debt.
79-238, in which a contractual arrangement by which one sibling promised to transfer property to another sibling's children in the event the latter sibling predeceased the life tenant
or a trust was held to be a completed gift at the time the contract was entered into.
An Interest in Possession Trust (or Life Interest Trust) is one where a specific beneficiary (called the life tenant
) is entitled to the income from the trust for his lifetime and on his death the capital remaining in the trust passes to different beneficiaries.