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Fee Simple Estate Questions

What is a fee simple estate?

A fee simple estate is a type of estate that is a type of freehold ownership. This term defines how a piece of real estate is owned in common law countries. Fee simple ownership refers to the interest in real property although it is generally limited by government powers.

If a person’s spouse dies and does not leave a will, what will happen if the person is a second wife and there are three kids from the first marriage?

If a spouse dies without leaving a will, then the state will step in and split the person’s estate. Under Section 392.020:

“an estate in fee of one-half (1/2) of the surplus real estate of which the other spouse or anyone for the use of the other spouse, was seized of an estate in fee simple at the time of death, and shall have an estate for his or her life in one-third (1/3) of any real estate of which the other spouse or anyone for the use of the other spouse, was seized of an estate in fee simple during the covertures but not at the time of death, unless the survivor's right to such interest has been barred, forfeited or relinquished. The survivor shall also have an absolute estate in one half (1/2) of the surplus personally left by the decedent." Without the legalese, it means that you would obtain 1/2 ownership in all real estate and a 1/3 life estate. That means that you will take half of whatever is left over, and the remaining 3 children would split the other half share completely between each other (each would get a 1/6 share) as per Section 392.010.”

If a child beneficiary of a trust and wants to sell the house that is in the trust to take care of their parents medical bills, can they do this?

If all the beneficiaries of the property agree to sell the property, then they can. The child would need to get a paper signed, while the parents are competent, that the parents give up their rights to the house and return the house to the fee simple trust. If the parents can sign the paper, then the child shouldn’t have any issues with selling the house because the parents have given up their interest and use of the house.

If a person dies and leaves their property through a fee simple trust, can the person that has life estate rights to the land be able to put it in a Federal Land Program without the fee simple holders signing the agreement?

If the person has life estate in the property, then they do not have to have the signatures of the fee simple title holders. The federal land program may want the fee simple title holders to still sign the contract. The person does not have to mention to the federal program that they have only life estate in the property, which would make it to where the issue of the fee simple title holders null and void.

If a person bequest their home to their children in fee simple, does it go into estate or directly to the beneficiaries?

If the person gives the property to the beneficiaries through a will, then when the person dies the home would go into probate and when that is over the beneficiaries would gain the property. If the property is given through a trust, the property would become part of the trust and there would be no probate the beneficiaries would have to go through to gain the home upon the person’s death. In most cases, a trust is an easier and faster way to transfer a property to the beneficiaries once the person dies.

Fee simple estates are a way for a person to transfer property to another person, but maintain the residence of the property until they die. When a property is involved in fee simple estate, then many questions may arise as to the rights of the beneficiary or the person that has living rights to the property. When the questions arise, then an Expert can provide the answers that are needed to move forward.
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