Life estates are legal estates in property law that are “granted to an individual for his or her natural life” 1. They can be set up for many reasons, including providing an inheritance for a family member. After the death of an individual holding a life estate during their lifetime, there are steps that must be taken to remove them from the estate. These steps are outlined below.

Step 1: Find the Deceased Person’s Will

If the deceased person has a will, then it is important to look through it first to see if they have specified any wishes regarding the life estate, including who they would like to replace them. Once the will is found, it can be used as the basis for removing the deceased person’s name from the life estate, if that is their wish.

Step 2: Locate the Original Deed to the Property

In order to remove the deceased person’s name from the life estate, it is important to locate the original deed to the property. This deed will likely include information pertaining to the life estate, such as who holds the life estate, who is joint tenants of the life estate, and the duration of the life estate. It is important to determine if the life estate has been set up in a way that is able to be transferred to another person.

Step 3: Prepare Legal Documents

Once it is determined that the life estate can be transferred, it is important to prepare the legal documents that are necessary. This may include a deed of release, which will remove the deceased person’s name from the life estate. It may also include a deed of transference, which will transfer the life estate to the new tenant. Depending on the situation, other documents may need to be prepared to ensure that the transfer of the life estate is valid.

Step 4: File the Documents

Once all of the necessary legal documents have been prepared, they must be filed with the county court clerk. This will ensure that the transfer of the life estate is legally binding. It is also important to note that any fees associated with the filing of these documents must be paid before they can be accepted by the court.

Step 5: Get an Order from the Court

After all of the legal documents have been properly filed, it is important to get an order from the court. This order will state that the transfer of the life estate is complete and that the deceased person’s name has been removed from the life estate. After the court order is made, the life estate is transferred to the new tenant.

When someone passes away before the end of their life estate, it is important to follow the steps outlined above in order to remove them from the life estate and to transfer it to another individual. By understanding the process and properly filing the necessary documents, it is possible to legally remove someone from a life estate after death.

1 Wikipedia: Life Estate

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