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Define Life Estate in Real Estate

Life Estate: 

A life estate is a type of property ownership that gives someone the right to use and enjoy a property for the duration of their life. This person is called a life tenant, and they are responsible for maintaining the property during their lifetime. Once the life tenant passes away, the property ownership transfers to another person or entity, called the remainderman.


For example, let's say John owns a property and wants to give his sister, Jane, the right to live in the property for the rest of her life. John can create a life estate, giving Jane the right to use and enjoy the property for as long as she lives. After Jane passes away, the ownership of the property would transfer to a remainderman, such as John's children.

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Here are a few additional things you should know about life estates:

Life estates can be created by a will or trust: A life estate can be established through a legal document such as a will or trust. The person creating the life estate is called the grantor, and the person who receives the life estate is called the life tenant.

The life tenant has certain responsibilities: The life tenant is responsible for maintaining the property during their lifetime. This means they are responsible for repairs and maintenance, as well as paying property taxes and insurance.

The remainderman has certain rights: While the life tenant is alive, the remainderman does not have any right to use or occupy the property. However, the remainderman does have a future interest in the property, which means they have the right to take ownership of the property after the life tenant passes away.

Life estates can have limitations: The grantor can place limitations on the life estate, such as restricting the types of activities the life tenant can perform on the property or requiring permission before the life tenant can sell or mortgage the property.

Life estates can have tax implications: There may be tax implications for creating a life estate, such as potential gift or estate tax consequences. It's important to consult with a qualified estate planning attorney or tax professional before creating a life estate.

Overall, life estates can be a useful tool for estate planning and can provide a way to transfer property to a loved one while retaining certain rights and control over the property during the grantor's lifetime.
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"Wit & Whimsy with the Dumb Ox: Unlocking Knowledge with Rhyme:"

A life estate is like a special lease,
Where someone can live, but only until they cease.
The life tenant is the one who gets to stay,
But when they pass, ownership goes another way.

For example, if John owns a house so grand,
But wants his sister Jane to live there and stand,
He can create a life estate, giving her the right,
To stay there until she passes, day or night.

When Jane passes away, ownership will shift,
To the remainderman, a plan so swift.
It's like a game of musical chairs, you see,
But with property ownership, oh so free!

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