Can a Person with a Life Estate Rent the Property to Others? A Perspective from a Minnesota Will Lawyer

Aug 29, 2023 | Wills

As a Minnesota will lawyer, one question I often receive is whether a person with a life estate can rent the property to others. A life estate is a type of legal arrangement in which an individual, known as a life tenant, is given the right to use a property for their lifetime. After the life tenant passes away, the property then passes to the ‘remaindermen’ named in the deed or will.

Life Estates and the Right to Use

The primary right that a life tenant has is the right to use and enjoy the property during their lifetime. This includes the right to live in the property, and in many cases, the right to rent the property to others and collect rent.

However, this doesn’t mean that a life tenant can do whatever they wish with the property. The life tenant must not commit waste, which is any action that causes significant harm to the property, reducing its value for the remaindermen.

Renting a Life Estate Property

In many jurisdictions, a life tenant has the right to rent out the property to others, provided the rental period doesn’t extend beyond their life. Any rental income generated belongs to the life tenant. However, the specifics can vary depending on the terms of the life estate, local laws, and other factors.

It’s important to note that while renting a property under a life estate may provide a source of income, it also comes with responsibilities. For example, the life tenant is usually responsible for maintaining the property, paying taxes, and insuring the property.

Consult with a Minnesota Will Lawyer

Life estates can be a useful tool for estate planning, but they also involve complex legal issues. If you are a life tenant and are considering renting out your property, it is advisable to consult with a will lawyer in Minnesota. A knowledgeable will lawyer can provide you with the necessary guidance and advice to ensure that you are acting within your rights and responsibilities.

In conclusion, while a life tenant can often rent out a property, it’s essential to understand the details of the life estate and local laws to ensure you’re making informed decisions. If you need further guidance, we invite you to reach out to our office at 763-244-2949 today to discuss your situation and explore the best options for you.