A person with a life estate cannot sell the property. They have the right to live on the property during their lifetime, that’s it. The do not own the property, just the right to live there. And they cannot sell the right to live there either, because that is not what the life estate is about. Not to mention, no one would buy a property with a person who only has a life estate.
A life estate is a right to use the property while the person is alive. They can live on the property or rent it out. But they cannot sell it. The life tenant’s interest terminates at their death. Meaning, no one will be able to inherit the property from the life tenant. Instead, the other person on the deed, the one with the remainder interest, takes over the ownership of the property upon the death of the life tenant.
A person typically gets a life estate when their parent or spouse dies and wants them to have a place to live for life and the financial benefit to go to that parent’s children after the death of the person who received the life estate.
If you are a person who has a life estate, or if you have a remainder interest, this is something that is important to know. A life estate has its limits, and the limits are set forth in the law. In order to sell the property, the holder of the life estate and the holder of the remainder interest must sell it together. No one is going to buy the property from one of the stakeholders. Just like no one is going to buy a property from two owners if only one of them agrees to sell and signs the contract and deed. The seller would want both owners to sell or else there is no sale.
Can someone with a life estate sell the property? No, that is not something that they can do. If you are having issues with a life estate, you can call the Law Offers of Albert Goodwin at 212-233-1233 or 718-509-9774.