life estate

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Life Estate

An estate whose duration is limited to the life of the party holding it, or some other person.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

life estate

n. the right to use or occupy real property for one's life. Often this is given to a person (such as a family member) by deed or as a gift under a will with the idea that a younger person would then take the property upon the death of the one who receives the life estate. Title may also return to the person giving or deeding the property or to his/her surviving children or descendants upon the death of the life tenant--this is called "reversion." Example of creation of a life estate: "I grant to mother, Molly McCree, the right to live in and/or receive rents from said real property, until her death," or "I give my daughter, Sadie Hawkins, said real property, subject to a life estate to my mother, Molly McCree." This means a woman's mother, Molly, gets to live in the house until she dies, then the woman's daughter, Sadie, will own the property.

Copyright © 1981-2005 by Gerald N. Hill and Kathleen T. Hill. All Right reserved.

life estate

an estate of freehold that exists for the duration of the life of the grantee. If the grantee should assign his interest, that taken by the assignee is referred to as an estate pur autre vie (i.e. ‘an estate for the life of someone else’, namely the original grantee). Since 1925 a life estate can exist only as an equitable interest behind a trust.


Collins Dictionary of Law © W.J. Stewart, 2006
References in periodicals archive ?
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's heirs.
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.