Agent

Life estate creates nightmare for eager home seller

Mistake allows family of ex-wife to retain occupancy
Published on Aug 1, 2006

DEAR BOB: Years ago, when my wife and I divorced, I agreed she could have a life estate in my house in upstate New York. She lived there until September 2005 when she had to be moved to an Alzheimer's care home. Her condition is such that she will never be able to live alone again. I want to sell the house. But her nasty daughter, from a prior marriage, claims I can't sell the house as long as her mother is alive. The daughter has now moved into my house. Her mother, age 72, could live many more years in the Alzheimer's care home. I talked with an attorney representing the largest title insurance company in the area. He said his company, because of the circumstances, wouldn't insure the title for a buyer. What can I do? --Herman R. DEAR HERMAN: Your situation is another classic example why I do not recommend life estates. At the time, you and your ex-wife thought you were doing the fair thing. But now look at the mess, with no end in sight. Purchase Bob Bruss reports online. The wordin...

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