What happens when a life tenant cannot pay taxes or insurance on a property. Who becomes responsible?

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What happens when a life tenant cannot pay taxes or insurance on a property. Who becomes responsible?

I need to know if I become responsible for
taxes and insurance if a life tenant cannot pay.

Asked on December 27, 2018 under Real Estate Law, Alaska

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

Taxes: the remaindermen--the persons who get the property after the life tenant dies--would be responsible for the taxes, since they are the ultimate owners (the tenant has an absolute right to use the property, but can't sell or transfer it without the agreement and cooperation of the remaindermen). If the remaindermen pay the taxes, such as to avoid a tax sale of the property, they could in theory sue the life tenant for the money--which, however, will not help if the life tenant doesn't have the money (a successful lawsuit does not make money appear where there is none). If no one pays the taxes, assume the government will seize and sell the property for the money.
Insurance: insurance is a contract--whomever signed the contract and purchased it is responsible. That said, the insurer doesn't care who pays--someone else could voluntarily pay any premiums. If no one pays, the policy will canceled.


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