The Life Estate Deed is a document that grants ownership of a parcel of real property to two separate parties: (1) the Life Tenant, and (2) the Remainderman.
The Life Tenant
As in most states, the Life Estate Deed gives the Life Tenant complete use and ownership of the property for a certain period of time.
That period of time is measured by the life of a natural person; usually the Life Tenant’s. In other words, if I am the Life Tenant and the time period is measured by my life then when I pass away the “life tenancy” automatically terminates.
However, if the time period is measured by the life of my wife and my wife passes away before me the Life Estate automatically terminates upon her passing and I can legally be evicted from the property.
When the Life Estate owned by the Life Tenant terminates, the Life Estate Deed transfers ownership of the property to the Remainderman.
The Remainderman is the person or persons whose names are listed on the Life Estate Deed as a Remainderman. To officially transfer ownership, in most states the Remainderman need only record the death certificate of the person whose life was the measure of the Life Estate.