If my aunt was given a life long estate in some propertyand now she wants to marry and move, can she rent her trailer?

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If my aunt was given a life long estate in some propertyand now she wants to marry and move, can she rent her trailer?

Life estate on my property.

Asked on November 7, 2010 under Estate Planning, South Carolina

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

What you are referring to here is called a "life estate".  This is an ownership interest in a piece of property, like a house or land, that lasts for the life of a person but ends on their death.  Generally 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 their lifetime).  Consequently, a life tenant does no need to live in or on the property and use it as their home.  A life tenant can rent it out full or part-time so long as it is no longer than their life (since this is as long as they own their life estate).  This includes renting out a trailer which they own on their life estate.

Note:  A life tenant is responsible for paying taxes, maintaining the property, and not permitting it to suffer any other damage.

In addition to the life tenant there is also someone owns the remainder interest in the property (the "remainderman"). That means that after the life tenant dies, the remaindeman will own full interest in the property. If the remainderman is concerned about the use of the property (for example, that renting might result damage and a loss of value), they can try and negotiate to buy the life estate and  get completefull while the life tenant is still alive.


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