When can a life estate be sold?

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When can a life estate be sold?

My sister has life estate to our father’s home but there are 4 of us who are beneficiaries to the house. My sister has decided to rent out the house and using the money for the upkeep on the home and property taxes. I would like to know if she can do this or can we force her to sell the house?

Asked on November 12, 2016 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

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

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

The fact is that a life tenant (i.e. your sister) has the same rights as an outright owner of the property, other than being able to sell the life estate. This means that they can rent out the property for their own financial gain for the life of the duration odf their tenancy. The fact that she has chosen to use the proceeds to maintain the property and pay the taxes is an entirely appropriate use of the rental proceeds. 


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