Articles Tagged with Life Estate


At the end of last year it seemed as if every day there was a new report of a celebrity dying unexpectedly. As fans around the world mourned the death of some of Hollywood’s most iconic figures, reports of their estate planning, or lack thereof, also filled the headlines.

Prince: Intestacy and streaming music rights collide

Most people are familiar with the term life estate, but may not understand the exact details of how a life estate operates.  First, “life estate” refers to a real property arrangement.  A life estate is essentially just a method of splitting ownership of real property between two classes of people.  In every valid life estate, there is at least one “life tenant” and at least one “remainderman.”

The life tenants and the remaindermen hold different property interests.  The life tenants are the owners of the property during life.  Each life tenant has the right to live in the property (rent-free) until his or her death.  Following the death of the last life tenant, the property automatically transfers to the remaindermen.  Following the transfer, the remaindermen become the full owners of the property, not subject to any life estate.  One of the fundamental benefits of using a life estate to transfer property is that the transfer happens outside the probate process.  A non-probate transfer allows the remaindermen to become full owners of the property without the cost, delay, and inconvenience associated with the probate process. Continue Reading

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