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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2011

    Default Life Estates in Florida

    My question involves real estate located in the State of: Florida
    My mother and her husband (not my father - he was her 3rd husband) owned a home in Florida as tenants-in-common. My mother passed away a few months ago, and supposedly died intestate, although there is some question about that - she said she had a will, but did not let us know who the personal representative was. Her husband is now claiming she did not have a will, but we have no way of producing one, not knowing who her lawyer was either. The husband has retained an attorney who tells my brother and me that pursuant to Florida law, since they were tenants-in-common and their house is a homestead property, that the husband has gotten a life estate in the house. He wants to sell the house (it is paid off) and his attorney tells us that he needs my brother's and my consent to sell the house. Does this mean that my brother and I now own a one-half interest in the house? I have tried to find out about life estates online, but with little luck. What happens when the husband dies? Does his interest in the house pass to his heirs or to my brother and me? I have read that when he dies, the life estate is dissolved, but am unclear as to what happens to his share.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Behind a Desk

    Default Re: Life Estates in Florida

    If they held equal interest as tenants in common, he would still own his share but apparently gains a life estate to her share via the laws of intestate succession. If you and your brother are the legal heirs to your mother's share, subject to that life estate, you have a future interest in that portion of the property that becomes a present interest upon the death of the life tenant. Your mother's widower is entitled to leave his own property, including his own share of the home, to his own heirs. You can come to an agreement with the life tenant to consent to the sale of the home in return for having your remainder interest bought out with some agreed-upon portion of the proceeds of the sale.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2011

    Default Re: Life Estates in Florida

    Thanks for your reply. I do have another question, although. My brother doesn't want my mother's widower to sell the house, and won't give him his permission. I just want to be done with it and get it all over instead of dragging everything out, especially the possibility of having to deal with the husband's relatives in the event of his death (he is 77 and not in the best of health-numerous heart attacks and other problems). Without just conceding my interest, can I sell my interest to the husband, or do both my brother and myself have to agree to sell our share? If we only have a future interest in the house (upon the death of the husband), do we actually own 1/2 of it now?

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