If my my father left me lifetime rights to a home but my stepmom is still alive but not in the home, do I have to wait for her to pass?

When do my rights kick in?

Asked on August 23, 2016 under Real Estate Law, Virginia


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Your stepmother is what is known as a "life tenant". This means short of actually trying to sell the house, she has all of the same rights/resposibilities as if she owned the property. Accordingly, she is under no obligation to reside there. Therefore, until her, death, your rights as "remainderman" do not "kick in". That having been said, your stepmother can waive her rights as a life tenant, in which case you can take the property over immediately. At this point, you should consult with a local real estate attorney if you need further information.

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