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  1. #1
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    Jun 2019
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    Default Does the Phrase “right for Life to Live in a Residence.” Constitute a Life Estate

    My question involves estate proceedings in the state of: Washington
    My dad‘s will states that his spouse “has the right for life to live in any residence which they currently reside in is long as she maintains the property and pays the taxes and insurance” . This is a simple will that never uses the term life estate and only uses that one sentence to describe his intention regarding her right to continue to live in the residence .

    This is a residence that has been in his family for several generations and following his death his spouse did not pay the property tax and it is accruing interest and penalties .
    My question is : Is this a life estate or something else ?

    If it is a life estate did his spouse forgo her interest in it by moving out and saying that I should pay the property taxes ?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Does the Phrase “right for Life to Live in a Residence.” Constitute a Life Estate

    Yes, the portion of the will you quoted created a life estate. However, her failure to pay property taxes may allow the remainderman(men) to seek to terminate the life estate. Also, you said that she moved out. Did she give any indication whether or not she intends to return?

  3. #3
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    Jun 2019
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    Default Re: Does the Phrase “right for Life to Live in a Residence.” Constitute a Life Estate

    Thanks for the response.
    She has recently indicated to the personal representative handling the estate that she wants to be bought out of her interest in the property . Interestingly, in an email a couple months ago she indicated that she had taken everything she wanted from the residence and has moved out and indicated that my brother and I can take possession of the property and we should pay the property tax . Her actions and instructions to us suggest that she didn’t think she had a life estate interest in the property or was foregoing it. Now after speaking to the personal representative(attorney) she is pressing for the sale of the property so that she can receive most of the proceeds .

    Since the property taxes were accruing interest I decided to pay it myself And did so this week.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Does the Phrase “right for Life to Live in a Residence.” Constitute a Life Estate

    If the estate is still in probate, then the situation is still in flux. How to proceed is up to the personal representative (and I'd normally say that he/she should retain the services of an attorney, but it sounds like he/she is an attorney).

  5. #5
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    Jun 2019
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    Default Re: Does the Phrase “right for Life to Live in a Residence.” Constitute a Life Estate

    The PR is in attorney and their perspective and interest lies with selling the property to pay off the life estate because it’s more work and more fees for him.
    I’m trying to find out if it’s worth it for me to hire an attorney to contest the current status of the life estate since I am the only one wants to live there and is willing to pay the property tax .

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Does the Phrase “right for Life to Live in a Residence.” Constitute a Life Estate

    Quote Quoting Naturalist
    View Post
    I’m trying to find out if it’s worth it for me to hire an attorney
    You'll never know until you have a consultation and find out the likely cost of whatever you want to do and can consider that along with your likelihood of succeeding.

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