As a life tenant, doI have timber rights on the property?

UPDATED: Jul 12, 2011

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As a life tenant, doI have timber rights on the property?

My mother gave me some property in a lifetime estate. It will be totally mine free and clear when she passes. Do I have rights to sell some of the timber on it?

Asked on July 12, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Tennessee


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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

It really depends on the wording or the "terms" of the life estate and what you can do.  Without a doubt once the estate passes to you in fee simple you will have complete ownership rights to the property and the right to sell the timber as you please.  But if the life estate limits you in any way then you should not do anything.  Say you were not the remainderman - the person who gets the property after the life estate is over - and you did something to de-value the property during the life estate so that the remainderman gets less than expected.  That could be a problem under state law.  So even though you are the remainderman here I would double check with an attorney in your area by letting him or her read the documents involved.  Good luck.

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