If my grandparents are willing their house to me but giving my uncle the right to live in house until he passes away, how does that work?

What happens if he remarries and dies? Will his wife be able to take my house?

Asked on July 11, 2014 under Estate Planning, Mississippi


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

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

What your uncle has is known as a "life estate"; what you have is known as a "remainder interest". Basically, a life tenant (that's your uncle) has all of the same rights and priviledges regarding the property as if they owned it; all that is except for the right to sell it. This means that while your uncle could rent out the house, he could never transfer ownership (by sale or otherwise). This is true whether or not he remarries. Therefore, upon his death, you as the "remainderman" will takeover the house and can occupy it, sell it or use it as you see fit. Bottom line, his wife would not inherit his life tenant interest.

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