State of Michigan.
I am not looking for a 100% absolute answer. I know that can't happen on this forum. I know for that, I need to send these people off to a real estate attorney and/or title company. I am posting to make sure I have a reasonable basis for concern before sending family down that path, because I don't have experience with life estates, succeeding life estates, and quit claim deeds, and want to make sure I'm not totally reading this wrong.
In 1987, a quit claim deed was signed by Father and timely filed with the county. It states:
* "Father, survivor of his deceased wife, Mother, whose death certificate is attached quit claims to Sister, Brother #1, and Brother #2, as tenants in common".
* "Grantor herein retains a life estate unto himself and a succeeding life estate is granted to Brother #3".
Father, Mother, and Sister are deceased. Brother #1, #2, and #3 are still living.
City property tax records list owner as "Father w/ Brother #2". City says all records on the property are old enough that they were all sent down to the county. Searched at the county, which turned up the quit claim deed referenced above. Nothing more recent for the property, except for some property tax leins.
I'm not sure whether Sister had any heirs, so if she would have any rights, I'm perfectly fine having an answer of "Sister's heirs" - then I could track down if there was a will, and if not, how that branch of ownership turns out.
I'm preparing a tax return for Brother #2, and he's the only one I know in this situation. Brother #2 received section 8 housing benefits for renting the property in 2011, and has historically paid the property taxes.
I think I understand the ownership situation, and think it's pretty cut and dry, but want to make sure before I send people down an unnecessary path. I'll delay putting in my understanding to avoid influencing responses.