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LegalGems
LegalGems, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 7416
Experience:  Private Practice; Elder Law Attorney; Estate Planning; Attorney Mentor
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I live in MN. My parents left me a house w/a life estate.

Customer Question

I live in MN. My parents left me a house w/a life estate. I pay taxes and insurance. My siblings all own the home (4) and they tell me I am expected to fix anything and everything. Not waht my parents told me. Can U shed some lite on this. I've been told I don't have to replace carpet, refrig, stove, etc.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Estate Law
Expert:  LegalGems replied 1 year ago.
My goal is to provide great service - if you have any questions, please ask. A follow up consult with a personal attorney is always recommended.
I am sorry to hear of this conflict.
The Life Tenant is responsible for the upkeep of the property- this is a basic obligation and does not require the Life Tenant to undertake improvements.
Basically one needs to determine if the issue presents a repair, or a capital improvement. The Life tenant is only obligated for repairs. In the example below the life tenant was required to replace a broken furnace but had full discretion on make/model etc. If the item can be repaired, that can be the chosen avenue.
Rights and Responsibilities of the Life Estate Owner (Issued from the state's website: http://hcopub.dhs.state.mn.us/19_25_15_15.htm)
The life estate owner:
l has the right to occupy, possess, or otherwise use the property until the life estate is terminated.
l has the right to sell the life estate interest if not prohibited in the legal instrument establishing the life estate interest.
l is entitled to all income and profits from the life estate interest, such as rent on the property.
Example:
Lupine owns a farm. He retained a life estate interest in the property and transferred a remainder interest in the property to his son. Lupine is the life estate owner and his son is the remainderman. Fifty acres of the property are rented.
Action:
As the life estate owner for the property, Lupine is entitled to the rental income. The person renting the 50 acres is entitled to the profit from the crops. His son (the remainderman) is not entitled to the rental income.
l cannot sell the property or the remainder interest.
l is responsible for paying the mortgage, taxes and insurance on the property.
l is responsible for the upkeep and repair of the property.
Example:
Alice, age 75, has a life estate in her home. Her daughter, Carol, is the remainderman. The furnace in the house is not working and cannot be repaired.
Action:
Alice is responsible for maintenance because she is the life estate owner. She must pay for the new furnace and can choose the type of furnace without Carol’s consent.
Statutes governing life estates and remainderman issues: https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/?id=256b.15
more general information: http://www.lawhelpmn.org/resource/life-estates-questions-and-answers
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Expert:  LegalGems replied 1 year ago.
Here is a link to help locate an attorney:
www.findlegalhelp.org and http://apps.americanbar.org/legalservices/findlegalhelp/home.cfm
Of course, should you have other questions please do not hesitate to post here.
If you found the information I provided useful, kindly rate positive as that is the only way the site is allowed to credit me so that I am compensated for the time I spent - which does not result in additional charges to the customer.
Thank you for extending this courtesy as I am an individual contributor so ratings are quite important , and take care!

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