Legal Question in Real Estate Law in Colorado

Life estate

Spouse's mother sold property to spouse and two sisters, retaining life estate. M-I-L now lives with us. Spouse wishes to purchase property from sisters, they have agreed. Revocation of life estate required? What needs to happen to put property in spouse's name as sole owner?? Thank you.

Asked on 12/28/01, 5:41 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

Louise Aron Attorney at Law


Louise Aron

Attorney at Law

Lakewood Office:

1536 South Ingalls

Lakewood, Colorado 80232 USA

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Denver, Colorado 80209 USA

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LawGuru User

Dear LawGuru User:

I don't have enough information to answer you with certainty.

However, it appears that a few properly drafted deeds will solve your problem. Deeds transfer interests between people who are alive and competent. Money can but need not be paid as consideration, depending upon the circumstances, and in many cases the document fee required by the county can be avoided.

Thank you for contacting LawGuru.


Louise Aron

web site

email: [email protected]

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Answered on 1/07/02, 12:45 pm
L. Eric Lundgren Lundgren Law Offices, P.C.

Re: Life estate

Several assumptions are necessary to respond.

(1) Mother in law is mentally competent or a

guardian has been appointed to handle her


(2) Mother in law / guardian agrees to the


(3) Mother in law is either receiving fair

consideration for her interest or desires to

make a gift of her interest in the property

to spouse.

(4) A true "life estate" as the term is used in

real estate law was retained in the

conveyance to sisters.

This unusual transaction involves two types of interests in land, present possessory interests and vested remainders.

Mother in law owns an interest in land that probably cannot be easily "revoked" like a leasehold interest.

Mother in law's ownership terminates at death, but until then, she is the only owner of the property with the right of possession. Thus, a deed from sisters alone to spouse would not convey a right of possession until mother in law's interest terminates.

To put the property in spouse's name, mother in law and sisters should convey their interests in the land by deed. The most simple way to do this would be by a single deed signed by mother in law and sisters.

Sisters can convey their remainder interests to spouse by deed, but mother in law would continue to be the owner of the life estate. Title with the right to possess and alienate (sell) the property would not pass to spouse until mother in law's demise.

My recommendation: Hire a lawyer to help you with this transaction as it is likely to be outside the expertise of a traditional title company. If mother in law is mentally infirm, take steps to be sure fair consideration is paid to mother in law for her interest to prevent the conveyance from being challenged later.

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Answered on 12/28/01, 6:00 pm

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