Feb 262020

How to Remove Someone from Life Estate

When a person with a life estate dies, removing his or her name from the life estate deed can be a complex and complicated procedure. Nevertheless, it is undeniable to have a clear title to the estate.

What you require to do is shift or assign the title to the new legal owner or life tenant—plus taking care of the value of the property, then how it is titled, and who has received it, and whether the decedent had a will or not will resolve the plan.

The manner is entirely reliant on your local registration office. It is not necessary to consult an attorney if you are well learned about the process.

But make sure you look online at your specific recorder’s office to uncover information on the precise procedure and what fees will be charged in your field.

How to Remove a Living Person from a Life Estate

It is a mistake that someone (an owner) can be “removed” from the deed if alive. Nor can a co-owner steal away another owner’s interest in an estate by executing a new deed without that other owner.

So, none of them can be directly or indirectly eliminated from a title. Even if the grantor or life tenant “deed” some other person to the estate deed before, the first holder cannot modify and short the second holder off from the deed.


  • This type of investment with moving of ownership deed person to person, the first holder lawfully gives the next holder the same rights and shares of ownerships
  • It is only possible if the Grantor has made power of appointment” on a separate paper attached to the deed, or else that shift cannot later be possible.

The alternate way to transfer the ownership standing is through legal action and further court order.

How to Remove Someone From a Life Estate After Death

Usually showing the death-certificate will be enough to document that the life estate has died, and the remainderman now has absolute ownership.

For example;

Lila owns a home with a life estate for her mother, Mrs. Johnson, who lived there. But she recently passed away, and the question is how to change the deed to reflect that there is no life estate on the said property anymore.?

Here, Lila can take a copy of the death certificate to the authority as per local and particular state law or can hire an attorney for legal actions for the rights of the estate owner as per the common property law.

How to Remove a Remainderman from a Life Estate

Once the Grantor or Life Tenant signed the Life Estate deed, he or she can not modify the deed until the approval from all the remainderman or future beneficiaries, however, if a power of appointment was reserved or provided in the life estate deed or another customary document.

The owner of the life estate can remove or change the remaindermen if he or she (grantor or life tenant) wants.  For a better view and options, one should consult with an attorney.

Visit law.cornell for specific knowledge about laws and acts in the states.

How to remove someone from Life Estate
Is There a Way to Have Someone’s Life Estate Removed?

Mr. John Stewart is 42 years old and a professor of science. He has set aside money and would like to invest in real estate. Already the owner of his main residence, he would like to develop his real estate heritage to ensure his old age and the future of his children.

Buying a life estate is a suitable solution, avoiding the inconvenience of rental management while ensuring that it can recover property in good condition when the seller of the property dies.

But the planning of your estate is tricky as it needs some detailed preparations for changing the ownership rights as well as reversing your estate to you. You may even desire to bypass the probate process altogether because it often delays the transfer of your real assets.

Creating life estate is the right decision if the correlation among the life tenant and the remaindermen are correct—for example, if they are a parent and child or siblings in good position—then they can all work unitedly to sustain the property for betterment.

So, the best option for all your answers is Creating a Life Estate, which provides your real estate to be directly conveyed to the person you want to give after your death without going into the probate. Let’s study and discuss all perspectives called Life Estate.

What is the definition of life estate?

The word “Life Estate” is a talk of the town for investment planning and to making property deeds with ownership benefits; but, what does it mean?

A life estate is a type of an estate with multi-ownership options, that gives one person to inhabit the holder until his or her end, then it passes to the different owner who is preplanned by the grantor. Life estates can be practiced to bypass probate and to provide a property to children (Remainderman) without giving up the capability to own it. Plus essential in Medicaid planning.

A life estate is an investment in real property, including the right to handle and maintain the assets for the term of the life of the life estate holder (Life Tenant)

Check this video and understand the definition and explanation What is LIFE ESTATE?

For example;

To X for life, then to Y (X will have the property until death, then the property will transfer to Y). Moreover, the life estate could be for the life of a different person. 

To X for the life of Y, then to Z. X will have the home until Y dies, then the property will pass to Z

Key Points:

  • Individuals own property only during their lifetime;
  • As long as the tenant is alive, the beneficiaries cannot sell the property.
  • An essential benefit of this law is that when a tenant dies, the estate will be transferred to its beneficiaries itself without becoming the part of the tenant’s property.

Great to know: In the US, real estate transactions have ruled a combination of state codes and common law; to know more about it CLICK HERE.

Life Estate Holder

A holder is the owner of an estate, who is using his property as Life Tenant—an interest in the estate that remains only for the life of the holder.

Therefore, a life estate holder cannot transfer ownership benefits of the property to anyone in his Will, because such interest in the estate does not survive the person.

He can accommodate and use that particular estate until his lifetime. However, after his death, the estate will transfer to his buyer called Remainder Beneficiary.

How do life estate deeds work?

In a life estate deed, two or more parties each have a ruling share in an estate, but for different duration of time. The person owning the life estate is the Life Tenant that possesses the property during his or her life.

The second future owner is the Remainderman and has a present ownership interest but cannot take control until the life tenant’s death.

The life tenant has complete charge of the property during his or her lifetime and has the valid power to keep the estate as well as the right to use it, rent it, and even make improvements to it.

Rights Of Life Estate Deed

A life estate deed is a change of the possession of the real property that is the caption of the deed to one or more persons (the remainderman) while maintaining ownership of a life estate in the property by the person(s) conveying the estate (the life tenant).

As per the deed, a life estate is the power to hold and use the estate, or the interests of the property, during its holder’s lifetime.

And ownership of the estate shifts automatically upon the life tenant’s death. without the necessity of probate as per the common law and property law. To know more about it CLICK HERE!

Life Estate Rights Definition

The holder (Life Tenant) of a life estate has a full right to maintain the property or transfer their interest during their lifetime. He can enjoy the complete access of the said property till his lifetime.

Although he must avoid engaging in loss, cause such activity that would prevent the next person in line from establishing the property to full use.

The life tenant should not forget the actual future interest of the property will go to the buyer ‘Remainder Beneficiary’ in any situation after his death.

Sale Of Life Estate Property Before Death

A life estate is formed by a deed that transfers the property to the person ‘for life’ and knows what should happen to it after that person dies. Hence, the holder of the property can sell the estate to anyone he wants.

However, it is for a limited period (Until the life tenant is alive). After his death, the property will pass to the Remainder Beneficiary, who is the original owner after the death of the tenant/holder.

For example;

A deed declaring that a house would go “to Matthew Loren for life, then to Heather Calingut” furnishes Matthew a valid life estate, and Heather a remainder.

Matthew could handle the house during his whole life and even sell his interest to another person named Barbara Loise (called the third party). Still, Barbara would have to surrender the property to Heather upon Matthew’s end (Death).

Good to know: Future Beneficiaries cannot sell the property in a life estate before the life tenant’s death.

Life Estate Interest In The Property

A life estate permits lifetime advantage of a property before it passes to the final beneficiaries called ‘remainderman.’

The life estate occurs when a person has a lawful right to handle property during his or her life but does not own the property thoroughly. He or she is called the ‘life tenant.‘ 

  • A life tenant has limited or no rights to sell or transfer his or her property to the detriment of an absolute owner;
  • A Will has to be understood as a whole, and the separate conditions of the Will should not be relied upon for discovering the true and correct persistence of the creator of the life estate.
  • The estate passes to the remaindermen itself after the death of the life tenant.

How to terminate a life estate?

It is possible to terminate a life estate for a few specific events. The life tenant may terminate the life estate while the said person is still living by forming and entering another deed to the same estate that precisely ends the deed.

A deed ending a life estate has typically the remainderman named on the first life estate deed as the beneficiary of the mentioned estate.

Ways To Terminate Life Estate

A life estate can be terminated or ended upon the loss of the life tenant. As per Pur Autre Vie’s life estate, the property terminates in the death of the measuring life.

Happen in several ways, like:

  • The holder or life tenant of the estate does impermissible waste;
  • The tenant breaks any condition connected and mentioned to the life estate. So the Grantor may assign the written provisions to the transfer of the life estate, rendered the legal terms.

 For example;

In Florida, a life estate transfer may read, “To Mita for life, granted Mita keeps the inground garden resided on the premises in good improvement.” So, here, Mita has a life estate and will persevere that life estate, until Mita remains by the terms.

Remainderman Deed

The person who owns a life estate still has a stake in the estate, the ‘remainder’ of the property interest transfers to the life tenant of the estate on the life estate deed.

For example;

If Christina who kept the life estate held full rights of the property when she transferred it on a deed to the remainderman (Future Owner), the remainderman will own complete ownership of that property once the life estate is no more alive (death).

Remainderman Rights Life Estate

The remainder interest can be formed by a deed. As a result,  the remaindermen, who continue a remainder interest in the same estate.

Although a remainderman has individual rights that require to be protected includes:

  • He does not have any reliability that is owed to the life tenant. Though, the remainderman has really to himself, particularly protecting his or her due rights in the property and preserving before-mentioned rights for the recipients.
  • A remainderman has to confirm that there must be no harm or destructive actions done by the life tenant that decreases the value of the estate.
  • The life tenant must maintain the property correctly by paying all liabilities and dues to insured the estate.
  • The Life Tenant may not endeavor any new deal, contract whatever that increases the burden of the property, and anything such as that should not be done without the permission of the remainderman.
  • A remainderman has full rights to take action against the life tenant if any action depreciates the property value, obstructs, or attempts to sell the estate

Reversing Life Estate Deed

A life estate with a reverse deed can be made in two different ways: it may be granted ultimately, or it may be reserved via deed.

Let’s understand;

“Matthew Perry, a single man, presents to kitty kelly a life estate for the duration of her actual life.” In this case, kitty is the life tenant, and Matthew is supposed to be the remainderman who owns the property in reversion and will reacquire title upon the death of kitty.

“Matthew Perry, a single man, grants kitty kelly a life estate for the real life of Michael lewis.” In this case, kitty is the life tenant and owns the estate until Michael passes away. Matthew is presumed to be the remainderman, and the title will revert to him upon the death of Michael.

Michael has no present or future interest in the estate; his life is only the measure by which the length of the life estate is determined.

“Matthew Perry, a single man, presents to  kitty Kelly a life estate for the actual life of Michael Lewis., with the remainder to Samual Patel.”

In this case, kitty, the life tenant, holds the property as long as Michael is alive. When Michael dies, the property goes to Samual, the remainderman. Neither Matthew, the grantor, nor Michael, the yardstick, has present or future interest.

Steps To Protect Life Estate Rights

A remainderman has individual rights that always require to be protected, as the remainderman does not have any liabilities that are owed to the life tenant or holder of the life estate.

A remainderman may appoint a lawyer against the life tenant for protecting the rights for his heirs, in the life estate.

The life tenant is not permissible for any action that reduces the property value of the life estate or interferes or try to sell the estate.

So, the remainderman must-

  • Confirm that life tenant does not take any damage, destructive actions that decrease the value of the estate.
  • Ensure that the life tenant must keep and maintain the property well and burden-free, from creditors, lenders, state laws, banks, and keep the property well protected.
  • Don’t forget; the life tenant is not allowed to make a new deal or mortgage or sell the life estate outwardly the approval of the remainderman.
  • The life tenant makes advances on the estate unless it is prevented by deed, trust, or any will.

Deed With Lifetime Rights

When people plan and exercise life estate deeds to bypass probate and eliminate the need to hire a lawyer to make a last will and testament or a trust; Creating a life estate deed is a good option.

A life estate deed is a transfer of the control of the real property that is the subject of the deed to one or more remainderman while holding ownership of a life estate after the life tenant’s lifetime.

As per the life estate deed, the life tenant has the right to keep and handle the whole property, or the advantages of the said estate, during their lifetime only.

Remember: Regrettably, they lose control over the disposal of their property when things turn out differently than expected.

Life Estate Value Sale Of The Property Before Death

When the Life Tenant dies, the Life Interest also terminates. Despite this, in some situations may necessitate the Life Interest to be valued before the end of a life tenant.

  • If the remainderman beneficiaries are planning a proposition to buy out the Life Interest to obtain their remaining ownership interest in the estate; or
  • If the life tenant is thinking of selling his or her Life Interest for any number of purposes.


  • The discounted cash flow method to get a regular income like rent; It’s often used to determine the fair value of a Life Interest in the estate. It depends on the future net cash-flow that can be created from renting the estate.
  • It provides benefits in annual rental income, lessen the property taxes, and even maintenance costs, and other expenses.

The number of years would be based on the expected surviving life of the Life Tenant. The yearly net cash flow would be reduced to offer value using a discount rate that follows:

  • A risk-free rate of return; and
  • A premium for the genetic risk of not reaching the predicted yield.

Moreover, adjustments to the value of a Life Interest may also be applied to account for particular circumstances, such as the health of the Life Tenant.


How to dissolve a life estate?

A person who is involved with Life Estates, how difficult it is to dissolve a life estate when the life tenant is still alive!

The person (Life tenant) who has a Life Estate is in the worst situation, and it will be a short duration before they enter a Nursing Home. Once he or she accesses the Nursing Home, it means the person will be in the Nursing Home for the rest of the life. The Remainderman will get the life estate when the life tenant dies or can no longer physically maintain living in the said property.

Remember this wording of the Life Estate; it declares that the Life Estate terminates when the Life Estate holder has been out of the home for at least ONE YEAR or PERMANENTLY.

If the Life Tenant is forever in a Nursing Home, he or she is not coming back to the property, such as a home. Second, the thing is that the Remainderman has been paying all the Property Taxes, Insurance, and Keeping on property.
The above situations open the doors to remaindermen for dissolving the life estate deed.

Can a life estate deed be reversed?

Changing a Life Estate Deed is complicated and not easy to switch. It needs approval from every remainderman.
In this situation, the life tenant determines and desires to move away to live near his or her grandchildren.
For example;
➔ The life tenant must take the statutory approval of every remainder beneficiary.
➔ The grantor is helpless to replace the deed without all of the future tenants’ permission. Because he or she has delivered the control of his or her estate,
➔ Divorce, bankruptcy, or sudden disability on the part of anyone of All the beneficiaries, even after dissolution (divorce), an unexpected disability, or liquidation of the life estate, can also actively involved in the life estate deed.
So, to make any change in the life estate deed, all of the future tenants must be ready and with the capability to lawfully sign for themselves.
Considerable to know: Consult an attorney about adding a power of appointment that the grantor may reduce a beneficiary’s stake in ownership, or change the person entirely and gives more authority to the grantor.

Who owns the property in a life estate?

A life estate is a joint ownership deed and a token of possession of the real property. The Grantor and Life Tenant or holder of the property is the owner until their lifetime. A life estate is the right to keep and manage the property, or the interests of the property, during the lifetime.
However, after the life estate deed is signed and registered, the use of the estate transfers automatically upon the life tenant’s death without the necessities of any probate. Without the approval of the remainderman, the life tenant is no longer entitled to sell and transfer the estate even for lease too.
Total of three categories of owners:
1) Current Owner (Grantor): The person who is creating the deed;
2) New Owner (Life Tenant): The person who holds the life estate;
3) Future Owner (Remainder Beneficiary): The person who will receive the property when the life tenant dies. Furthermore, various individuals may assist in the same role.
For example,
There may be more than one grantors, or more than one joint life tenants, and one remainder. Kindly refer to this Electronic Code of Federal Regulations (eCFR) to know about the terms.

Can a life estate deed be changed?

It is challenging to modify or change a life estate deed. The grantor cannot change the life estate as he or she has no power to do so after creating the life estate deed unless all of the future tenants agree. It requires the permission or consent of every one of the beneficiaries.
➔ Accordingly, all future tenants need to be present with the capacity to sign for themselves lawfully.
➔ Those who want to have the ability to change it should consult an attorney is a better option for legal guidance and the making of a “power of appointment ” clause to the document language. It allows the grantor more ability to change the deed itself.

Can a Lien be placed on a life estate?

The mortgagers (creditors) cannot place a lien on the life estate because the beneficiaries have no interest during the grantor’s lifetime. The claim will generally remain attached to the life estate until it is paid, and may be passed to the remaindermen when the grantor is deceased.

Better to know: The lien affects only the value of the life estate and not to the value of the whole property. That is because the parent (the life tenant), has only a partial interest in the estate while the children, as remainderman, hold the rest.

Can you revoke a life estate?

It depends on the conditions under which the consent to convey the estate was made. If it was a promise to deliver as a gift, not based on a commitment for something received in return, then it can be easily revoked before the gift is made. And so I can reverse the life estate without any judicial or court process.
Essential to know: The State could have a claim toward the estate after your death if you underwent Medical Care or Alternative Care, Long Term Care, General Assistance MA. As this law implements to life estates formed after July 2003.

Can remainderman sell life estate?

Yes, of course, as per the property law, a person who takes ownership of the estate when the life estate dies is called a remainderman. The remaindermen can only sell his/her remainder interest – and not the life estate holder’s present interest – without that life tenant’s permission:
➔ The remainderman can sell his or her interest in the property even before the life estate interest terminates if permitted by the legal instrument authorizing the life estate interest.
➔ We should remember this, that the owner of life estate holds the life estate interest until the life estate ends.
➔ In another way, the remainderman can transfer the estate with the consent of the life estate owner.

Can someone with a life estate sell the property?

Yes, of course. Someone with a life estate is an owner with an ownership interest in that particular estate. Just like real estate, but this lasts only for the lifetime of that named person, and it expires on that life tenant’s death.
However, during life, the person with a life estate without using the property as a private estate can sell the life interest in the property until the life tenant is alive as per the property act and federal laws.

Can a life estate deed be contested?

The answer is YES!
The Life estate is an agreeable choice, particularly where there is an advantage in having the life estate revert back to its real owner (Grantor or Life Tenant).
But, due to its complexity, life estate deeds can frequently lead to many types of estate conflicts. A common dispute is about the property owner’s obligations.
For example, the life tenant has multiple responsibilities to perform, like defending an estate from difficulties and solving specific property tax issues.
By not meeting the commitments or decisions can ruin the future interests of the beneficiaries that are supposed to be the loss.
Different types of life estate property disputes are;
➔ Life Tenant’s responsibilities;
➔ Wrong Property details such as identifications and additional specific information;
➔ Confusion regarding Life Tenant and Remainderman;
➔ Selling the property to another party;
➔ Confounding draft or a deed with doubts.

Can you take a heloc with a life estate deed?

Yes. If you are holding a life estate, then a life estate deed allows its holder (Life Tenant) to take HELOC (credit/loan) against the value of the life estate that he or she owns.
But, the process is tricky as you need to clear your path by serving the relevant documents confirming the life estate, such as a will or the deed to the said estate. Moreover, all the remainderman owners will then need to be present and sign off on the HELOC paper as well.
Need to know: You may suggest this link ‘Be Careful With Life Estates‘ to analyze more about a credit against the life estate.

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