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Tina, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 5436
Experience:  17 years of legal experience including real estate law.
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I need to know if someone left a lifetime estate to you are

Customer Question

I need to know if someone left a lifetime estate to you are there any way I could get some help of some kind. I am 65 yrs old and am not able to do work around her anymore but I own 1/2 of the house and the land it is on. I have trees that need to be cut and I am not able to keep up all the acerage and house by myself and I have no money to pay someone to do it. His kids are only waiting for me to die but do not want to do anything to help me....I need some kind of answers as if there are anything I can do? If they would buy my 1/2 of house I need to move in with my sister (disabled), but they do not want the house they are only after the money, but do not want me to get 1/2 for my part in the house.....
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Attyadvisor replied 1 year ago.

Welcome and thank you for you question. Just to clarify own 1/2 of the real property and have life estate in the whole property?

Can you tell me the State that the property is located in?

There can be an issue when the person holding a life estate allows the property to be in disrepair and lose value. Legally this is referred to as waste.

Do you have a copy of the life estate that you can attach?

In the meantime there are ways to get assistance with your property based on your need.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
It is in Georgia. I do have copy but I do not have a fax machine. Yes I need to know what to do I feel unsafe at my home at this time.
Expert:  Attyadvisor replied 1 year ago.

I understand. Can you copy the document and email it, if not we will work around the situation.

My concern is the duty for upkeep of the property.

The laws requires that “A life tenant has responsibilities while using the property. Because he or she is not the true owner, he or she must maintain the property for the remaindermen. This can include general upkeep and necessary improvements. The life tenant may also be financially responsible for the home, including payment of the mortgage, utilities, real estate taxes, and homeowners insurance.

A life tenant does not have the right to sell the property outright, but he or she can sell her life interest in the property. In that case, the buyer would own (and be responsible for) the property for the rest of the life tenant’s life. A life tenant can also rent or lease the property.

During the life of the life tenant, the remaindermen don’t have a right to use or sell the home, nor do they have any responsibilities for its upkeep. But because they own a future interest in the property, their creditors can put a lien on the property and then act on the lien after the death of the life tenant.

As you might imagine, there can be tension between the life tenant and the remaindermen. As the ultimate owners, the remaindermen may put pressure on the life tenant to maintain the integrity and value of the property. And the life tenant may be less inclined or incapable of meeting those expectations. However, if the relationship between the life tenant and the remaindermen is good—for example, if they are a parent and child or siblings in good standing—then they can all work together to maintain the property for everybody. For example, the remaindermen may see the benefit of investing in improvements in the property during the life tenant’s use of it. Or they may all work together to sell the property, if needed.

If the home is too much for you to maintain you can sell your interest in the life estate. That may not be an option you would prefer so we can discuss other options as well.

Expert:  Attyadvisor replied 1 year ago.

Where in Georgia (county) are you located so I can provide a link for local attorneys that provide FREE consultations to refer your documents? There are also attorneys that provide free legal services (pro bono) that I can provide for you if I am unable to view your document.

Expert:  Attyadvisor replied 1 year ago.

"A life estate is an ownership interest in a piece of property, like a house or a condo, that lasts for the life of a named person, but ends on that person’s death. In most places a person who holds a life estate (the life tenant), has the right to do anything with the property that a full owner could do during his or her life. He or she need not live in the property and use it as his or her home, but can rent it out full or part time or even sell the life interest in the property. The rental or sale agreement can’t be for a time longer than the life of the life tenant, since the life tenant only owns an interest during his or her life.

The holder of the life estate is responsible for paying taxes, maintaining the property in good repair, and not permitting it to suffer any "waste" or other damage. As long as the life tenant fulfills these duties, no other owners have a basis to complain.

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Expert:  Attyadvisor replied 1 year ago.

Which county is the property located in so I can get you some help from a local attorney that provides free consultations as well as assistance from local attorneys that provide free legal assistance. We want you protected.

Expert:  Attyadvisor replied 1 year ago.

Shirley are you still with me?