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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2019
    Posts
    3

    Default Life Estate

    My question involves real estate located in the State of: Georgia

    My grandmother recently wanted me to move into her home because it was not livable for her and wanted to transfer ownership. My uncle and my dad agreed upon this too. Sadly, my uncle passed away and there posed issues. She wants to sign the property over to me but we do not know what or how to go about this. My uncle has no heirs nor did he have a will or anything determining what goes where but he was married. How do I determine if his portion of the property goes on his estate? I am the only grandchild. Will have I have to buy the property from my aunt?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    38,728

    Default Re: Life Estate

    I’m guessing your uncle was also an owner of the home based upon your concerns regarding his death. If true, do you know how title to the property was held?

    typically you have tenants in common and joint tenants. There may be a statement of with rights of survivorship on the deed as well.

    how title was held will make a difference how things play out.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2019
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Life Estate

    Both my dad and uncle are on the deed as remainderman but I dont have enough knowledge to determine who has main ownership i guess you could say

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    38,728

    Default Re: Life Estate

    If your dad and uncle are remainder men, your grandmother cannot give you the house because she doesn’t own it. Your uncles estate and your father do. All your grandmother owns is a right to stay in the house (along with paying the taxes and maintaining it) for the remainder of her life.

    Are your uncle and father listed as tenants in common or joint tenants and is there any mention of a right of survivorship?


    whether you need to or can purchase your uncles share is up to how title was held and whether your aunt is willing to sell what would become her share. So, still not enough info to tell you much.

    Let me try to explain the situation a bit


    when your grandmother created a life estate for herself, she transferred her ownership to the remaindermen. She no longer owns the home, the remainder men do but they cannot take possession until the life tenant dies or otherwise relinquishes her life estate.

    if title between your father and uncle was held as tenants in common, your uncles share is now an asset of his estate. What happens to his share will depend on what happens during the probate (court action used to settle the affairs of a decedent). It may end up owned by your aunt but I cannot say that with any certainty because I have no idea how your uncles probate will play out. If your uncles share ends up being owned by your aunt, she could sell you that share if she wishes to. You cannot force her to though. If the administrator of your uncles estate has the option to sell your uncles share, it may be possible to purchase that share directly from the estate.


    If title between your father and uncle was held as joint tenants with rights of survivorship, your father now owns all interest in the home except the life estate held by your grandmother.

    If your father wishes to give his share to you or anybody else is up to him.


    Your grandmother can gift or sell her life estate to you but all you would own is what your grandmother currently owns; the right to stay in the home as long as she is alive after which the remainder men take possession.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2019
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Life Estate

    That helps! Thanks! This whole life estate thing is absolutely crazy

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Posts
    1,643

    Default Re: Life Estate

    Putting your first two posts together, I assume that your grandmother owns a life estate in her home and that your uncle and father are remaindermen. Correct?

    If so, then the only thing that your grandmother can transfer to you is her life estate (and it's possible that she can't even do that without agreement from the remaindermen). Your father still owns his interest as a remainderman, and your uncle's interest is now owned by his estate.

    Whoever it is that wants to transfer something to you should consult with a local real estate attorney.

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