How do I terminate a life estate we granted to my mother who no longer lives here and is an Alzheimer’s patient?

UPDATED: Feb 24, 2011

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How do I terminate a life estate we granted to my mother who no longer lives here and is an Alzheimer’s patient?

My mother gave my husband and myself a home and property 10 years ago after my father’s passing. Since that time she has developed Alzheimer’s disease and no longer lives here. She lives with my sister who has permanent guardianship over her. She no longer comes onto the property for any reason and pays no real estate taxes or any of the bills that are needed to keep the home in good repair (fuel bills, electricity bills, repair bills, etc.). What is the easiest way to terminate the life estate given these conditions?

Asked on February 24, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Alaska


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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

I am sorry for your Mother's condition.  I think that you have things backwards: your Mother granted you the property and took back a life estate.  I am sure that that is how the deed reads.  Generally speaking a life estate terminates at the death of the grantor (your Mother).  Only she can terminate the estate and now since she is unable to do so because of her dementia, it may be possible for her guardian to do so.  But one would need to look at the deed and the document that granted the life estate.  I would suggest that you seek to have all the documents reviewed by an attorney in your area.  Good luck to you.

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