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life estate

n. the right to use or occupy real property for one's life. Often this is given to a person (such as a family member) by deed or as a gift under a will with the idea that a younger person would then take the property upon the death of the one who receives the life estate. Title may also return to the person giving or deeding the property or to his/her surviving children or descendants upon the death of the life tenant-this is called "reversion." Example of creation of a life estate: "I grant to my mother, Molly McCree, the right to live in and/or receive rents from said real property, until her death," or "I give my daughter, Sadie Hawkins, said real property, subject to a life estate to my mother, Molly McCree." This means a woman's mother, Molly, gets to live in the house until she dies, then the woman's daughter, Sadie, will own the property.


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The People's Law Dictionary by Gerald and Kathleen Hill Publisher Fine Communications

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