Agent

Real estate recovery complicated by ‘life estate’

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DEAR BOB: About a year after mom died, dad married a much younger woman who was 34 at the time (he was 62). Three years later, dad died of a heart attack. My sister and I never liked the second wife although we "tolerated" her and were cordial to her. Under dad's will, he gave his second wife a "life estate" in his house. Upon her death or permanently moving out, the house goes to my sister and me. The second wife has remarried and moved her new husband into the house with her. It has only been four years since dad's death, but the house is getting badly run down. The yard is a mess. The property taxes were unpaid until I checked up and told the life tenant she must pay the taxes or forfeit her life estate (there is no mortgage to pay). My sister and I are concerned the house will be a run-down wreck by the time she dies (she's 41 now). Is there anything we can do about this situation? – Craig C. DEAR CRAIG: Yes. One alternative is to buy out the life tenant's interest in the ho...