How does a life estate work after the trustee has passed away?

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How does a life estate work after the trustee has passed away?

My great-grandmother left all of her property to my grandmother in a “life estate” when she passed away in the 1980’s. My grandmother just passed away last year, and left a will leaving all of her property to her surviving spouse. We were just notified that my grandmother’s siblings are contesting by saying the property that was originally my great-grandmother’s, that had been left by “life estate” to my grandmother, was now rightfully theirs. Is this true, or should our family take it to court?

Asked on September 3, 2011 under Estate Planning, Texas

Answers:

FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

A life estate gift from one person to another means that the person receiving the gift (such as the right to live in the house for life) only has the benefit of the gift during that person's lifetime and after the person who passes receiving the life estate, the item goes to the remaindermen specified in the will. Example: I leave my house to my son John for life, remainer to his children. This means that John gets to use the house for his lifetime and after he passes, his children inherit the house to do as they wish.

If your great-grandmother gave your grandmother a life estate in some proeprty, then after you grandmother passes, you need to look at your great-grandmother's will to see who ends up receiving the property after your grandmother passes.

Potentially your great uncle(s) or great aunts may be entitled to the property from your great-grandmother.

 


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