Why it’s important that you understand this RE concept.


A traditional life estate allows a person to use the property for his benefit throughout his lifetime. The remainderman or the person who assumes ownership of the property once the life tenant (original owner) cannot use, occupy, and take advantage of the property as long as the latter is still living.

Here are the three types of life estate.

Life Estate for the Life of the Grantee

A life estate of this kind grants the rights of the remainderman over the property throughout his life. This is the simplest of the three types and is most appreciated by remaindermen due to its benefits and few complications of the contract.

Life Estate Pur Autre Vie

It’s the same question I get to be asked over and over again. Recently, a woman in her 40’s was startled when she was asked if her estate is one that’s “pur autre vie”. She was clearly dumbfounded for not having a single clue of this French term that means “for the life of another”. Thus, an estate that is pur autre vie is a property that one person grants to another only before the death of a third party.

In the woman’s case for example, her husband has indicated in his will that he leaves his house to his son as long as his wife (the woman) is still alive. In this circumstance, her son would not become the owner until her death.

Life Estate Upon a Condition

If a life estate bears a condition, it would cease the interest of the remainderman over the estate should the condition occur before the death of the life estate holder. The words “if, however”, “provided”, “but if”, and “on condition that” are usually found in the Power of Termination document.

This is often a cause of much conflict between the holder and the recipient considering that some may not be aware of the possible violations that they can commit. Others are also too careless to breach the condition when the estate holder spots loopholes in their fulfillment of the condition.

If the condition is not violated, then the concept of traditional life estate shall follow.

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