What is the law regarding the use of property during one’s lifetime without ownership?

I have heirs, 3 children, but my wife has none. In my Will I want to ensure that she has use of my house and property for her lifetime but not ownership of it. My concern is her remarrying after my death and then the new spouse or children getting rights to the property. I owned the property before the marriage but built the house after the marriage but with only my money. I want to leave the house and property to my children but only after my spouse passes or leaves the house of her own volition.

Asked on June 12, 2012 under Estate Planning, Georgia


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

I believe what you want to do is to grant a life estate to your wife and leave your children as the remaindermen of the property and the home.  You can chieve thins in a WIll or in a trust and you should speak with an attorney about the best avenue in your case.  Now, as for the house: please discuss the possibility that a claim could be made that it is marital property.  It was built after you were married so courts may assume it is marital property.  And when you say "my money" what do you mean?  Good luck.

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