Thank you. Allow me to explain.
A life tenancy has two people "owning" the property. Ownership in a property is called an "interest." The two interests in a life estate situation are:
1) The life estate tenant; and
2) The remainderman.
The life estate tenant can live on the property, lease the property out, etc, but cannot sell it. (They can however sell their life estate interest.) Once the life estate tenant dies, the property goes to the remainderman.
If the remainderman dies before the life estate tenant, the interest in the property that she had goes to the remainderman's legal heirs unless the instrument (document/deed) that was used to create the life estate or the remainderman's will specifically gives the remainderman's interest back to the life estate tenant if the remainderman dies before the life estate tenant.
Are you with me? I know it is a bit convoluted - let me know if I can rephrase this another way.
Assuming the instrument used to create the life estate and/or the remainderman's Will do not give the remainderman's interest to the life estate tenant, then once the remainderman dies, the life estate tenant still only has that life estate only... and the remainder goes to the remainderman's heirs once the life etate holder dies.
What it sounds like is that the life estate holder was attempting to transfer WHOLE ownership of the property, but they can only transfer the life estate. So the life estate holder cannot transfer the whole property.
Now, if the instrument used to create the life estate and/or the remainderman's Will DO give the remainderman's interest to the life estate tenant, then the Executor/Administrator/Personal Representative of the estate of the remainderman can use a special kind of deed called a Personal Representative Deed (also called an executor's deed) during probate to transfer the remainder from the estate of the remainderman to the life estate holder, giving them in effect 100% of the property. Then the life estate tenant - now simply a full owner of the property - can transfer the deed to whomever they want.
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