TEXAS: In 1991 my father-in-law went to court when his father died intestate. His step-mother was awarded a life estate in 1/3 interest of the home his father owned before their marriage and my father-in-law was awarded 2/3 interest in the home and the remaining 1/3 interest upon the step-motherís death (100% ownership).
The step-motherís family is trying to sell the house and put the step-mother in a nursing home. She is now 80 years old. I already know that she canít sell the home without the remainder menís signatures. My father-in-law died in 2003 intestate. Heirship has already been legally established.
We went by the house and the back door had been kicked open. When we went inside, it is obvious no one has lived in the home for a very long time. It needs lots of repairs. When I called the tax office, the taxes hadnít been paid for 2002-2005 and now the 2006 taxes are due. My husband paid the back taxes and we are talking with an insurance agent about getting the home insured.
My question is, as a life tenant isnít she responsible for the taxes and upkeep of the home? And, if we decide to sell the home is she entitled to 1/3? I ask because I was told that her gain from the sell would depend on her life expectancy and according to the US Life Table she has already exceeded that. Basically, we are not wanting to cheat the woman out of anything she is due. But, we also want everything we are entitled to as well. She will not have personal gain from the sale. Either the nursing facility will get it or her heirs that do not have a legal right to it. Can she forfeit her right to the home due to lack of paying the taxes, having insurance, and maintaining the upkeep?