What are the rights of remainderman to a life estate?

UPDATED: Apr 9, 2012

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What are the rights of remainderman to a life estate?

My mother-in-law has a life estate. There are 2 remaindermen, my husband and his sibling. If my husband is helping his mother pay her bills now, is he entitled to his money back when the property goes for sale? Also, if his brother is taking care of the yard, is he entitled to payment later? Can either or remainderman move into the property upon her death, without permission from the other?

Asked on April 9, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Massachusetts


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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Okay, the general rule sif that the person who hsa the life estate (your Mother in law) must maintain the property for the remaindermen (your husband and his brother).  So the money that they are expending is gratuitous at this point in time unless they come to some agreement between them (and I would do it in writing) or it is a debt of her estate.   Once your Mother in law passes they have equal rights to the house and that means moving in.  Good luck.

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