A Life Estate Interest can be Conveyed But Not Extended

 In Second Marriages

Question:

My father remarried and want to grant life estate rights to his new wife. In the event of his death, if she were to remarry, can she grant life estate rights to her new spouse?

Response:

Yes and no. (Don’t you hate lawyerly answers!)  Your father’s wife would only own the right to live in the house for her life. She would not be able to expand those rights beyond her lifespan. She could, however, grant her life estate to someone else but the new owner’s interest would still end at her death. This is because a life estate is a property interest that can be conveyed or even sold, but not extended.

I’m speaking here of a standard life estate in a deed. A right to use and occupy property under a will or a trust is personal and cannot be given to anyone else.

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