Without guidelines, the responsibilities of maintaining property by a life tenant can grow into big problems.
Giving a person life tenant rights can be a good way to avoid some family conflicts and make sure that property stays in the family. However, it can also create different conflicts, according to the Edinburg Review in “Designate rights and duties of life tenant in will’s bequest.”
The problem is that the life tenant might have different ideas about how the property should be maintained than the people who will inherit it later.
The ultimate inheritors might object if, for example, the tenant wants to completely redo the interior of a home.
Unless the parties can resolve the conflict, they could end up in court.
For this reason, it is a good idea to include in the will what the life tenant is responsible for regarding maintenance and any limitations on how the life tenant can use the property.
An estate planning attorney can advise you in creating an estate plan that fits your unique circumstances, including the possible inclusion of a life tenant.
Reference: Edinburg Review (Jan. 8, 2018) “Designate rights and duties of life tenant in will’s bequest.”