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AK has given good advise. Lots of states allow for a "usufruct" on the property that she describes.

If the life estate attorney says this isn't what they do, then contact a real estate attorney and take all the paperwork on the life estate. Also it would be a good idea to get a copy on all legal filed on the property from the courthouse and a current tax assessor statement on the property.

For the tax assessor item, most counties send out the tax bill statement in Nov or Dec for payment due at the end of January. So this form should be somewhere in your mail from the last 90 days. On the tax assessor form should be the parcel number. This is mucho importante as most courthouses keep the info on real property (house & land) by the parcel number rather than the street address. Once you know the parcel number, go onto your county courthouse website to get copies downloaded or mailed to you on any & all legal filed on the property. This is usually at a very cheap cost too. You just want to do this to make sure that all the legal you have is the same as recorded and that the items supposedly recorded were done. If the property was included in probate (like mom & dad owned the property, then dad died and mom did probate on dad and then put the property in her life estate), I'd suggest you get a copy of the probate records too (these tend to take longer to get & mailed to you). You take all this with you to the attorney. It will cut down on costs.
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The answer depends on how the life estate is written. I know of one where the father remarried after the death of his first wife, and after his death, the second wife has a life estate in the house. As long as she lives in the house it cannot be sold. When she is no longer living in the house, it can be sold and the proceeds go to the man's children. You probably need to consult an attorney, preferably the one who created the life estate.
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