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J. Warren
J. Warren, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 2246
Experience:  Experience in estate planning including wills, trusts and succession planning.
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My mother passed away in 2006 and left the family home to my

Customer Question

My mother passed away in 2006 and left the family home to my three siblings and I (total of 4). However, the wrinkle is that she also left my sister with a life estate in the home because she was living in the home at the time and would have no where else to go. She is financially responsible for all the maintainance and we are concerned this is not getting done. Do we have any recourse?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Estate Law
Expert:  J. Warren replied 1 year ago.
Hello and welcome to JustAnswer. Please note:This is general information for educational purposes only and is not legal advice. No specific course of action is proposed herein, and no attorney-client relationship or privilege is formed by speaking to an expert on this site. By continuing, you confirm that you understand and agree to these terms.I am sorry you are dealing with this situation. The life tenant is responsible for the maintenance of the property and to prevent waste of the asset to protect its value. To the extent this does not happen, the remainder in interest can seek a court order to compel the required maintenance. Another option is to have the work performed and seek reimbursement by the life estate tenant. In addition, to the extent that the property loses value as a result of the life estate tenant, the life estate tenant is liable for the diminution of value. Potentially a partition suit could be brought against the life estate tenant. A partition suit attempts to force the sale of the property with the proceeds being divided equally. Partition suits are expensive and are difficult to win against a life estate tenant but the remainder interest holders could bring a cause of action to partition and force sale.Thank you for allowing me to help you with your questions. I apologize that this was probably not the Answer you were hoping to receive. However, it would be unfair to you and unprofessional of me were I to provide you with anything less than truthful and honest information. I hope you understand. I have done my best to provide information which fully addresses your question. If you have any follow up questions, please ask! If I have fully answered your question(s) to your satisfaction, I would appreciate you rating my service as OK, Good or Excellent (3 stars or more). I thank you in advance for taking the time to provide me a positive rating! If you are on a mobile device, you may need to scroll to the right.
Expert:  J. Warren replied 1 year ago.
I found a recent case that relates to your situation in which a court allowed a termination of interest of the life tenant for not properly maintaining the life estate property that sets forth the grounds and precedence that remaindermen have recourse against the life tenant if they fail to maintain the property and their interest may be terminated:Matteson v. Walsh, 79 Mass. App. Ct. 402 - Mass: Appeals Court 2011,22
Expert:  J. Warren replied 1 year ago.
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