Is it possible to Will a home to a second and present wife for her lifetime use, then ownership of the home goes to only son?

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Is it possible to Will a home to a second and present wife for her lifetime use, then ownership of the home goes to only son?

My brother is in need of a liver transplant. He is not sure how to go about his wish to
leave his present wife his home for lifetime use upon his death, then ownership of
his home would go to his only son from his first marriage.

Asked on July 11, 2016 under Real Estate Law, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Yes, this is perfectly legal, and common enough that there is a name for it: "life estate." The seond wife is given a "life estate" which lets her possess and reside in the home for her life; the son gets a "remainder" interest (he is called a "remainderman"), which means that the home becomes his on her death. Your brother should let an attorney (e.g. a trusts and estates attorney) draft the will for him, to make sure it is phrased correctly, but this is definitely something he can do.


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