If my late mother-in-law left a life state in her home to my husband, is there any way that he can get full ownership of it?

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If my late mother-in-law left a life state in her home to my husband, is there any way that he can get full ownership of it?

On his death, the home and land is to then be divided among the surviving family, However, he is the only one to ever live at this home and we still do. We have paid all insurance and taxes for the past 7 years. We have also paid for over $30,000 in repairs, plumbing electrical and structural. Do we have any grounds to claim ownership free and clear for this property and homeplace?

Asked on January 15, 2014 under Estate Planning, Tennessee

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

No,  unfortunately living at a property, paying taxes or insurance or maintenace/repairs on it, etc., do not give you any ownership rights to that property--especially when a life estate is involved, since it's common for the person with the estate to pay varioius carrying costs of the property. If your husband was given  a life estate, that is all he is entitled to. If it is, even including what you pay, a bargain or good deal to live there, then enjoy the benefit of doing so; if it's not actually a good deal, then you could move out--you're not forced to live there.


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