Remaindermen legal liability

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Remaindermen legal liability

My deceased father left his second wife a life estate for his lien free office building with my brother and I listed as the remaindermen. The second wife states she has an insurance policy for the building.

Question If a significant incident occurs on the property grounds in which a 3rd party brings a lawsuit for damages, what happens if judgment is passed in favor of the third party in an amount that exceeds the life tenants insurance policy. Can my brother and I remaindermen be sued for the balance of the judgment that is in excess of the life tenants insurance policy maximum coverage? Another way to ask, as the remaindermen, can we be held legally responsible for incidents a 3rd party may bring against the property or is the life tenant solely 100 liable for any claims brought against the building?

Asked on September 26, 2018 under Real Estate Law, Pennsylvania


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

The life tenant (second wife) is solely liable for third party claims against the property during her lifetime. Claims filed after her death when the remaindermen are in possession of the property will hold the remaindermen liable. Potential liability of the remaindermen doesn't commence until they are in possession of the property.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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