What is a Life Tenant and Remainderman

Mostly, people believe that life tenant and remainderman are same but it’s not true as the latter only gets the possession when the life tenancy of someone else expires. To make things easier to understand, let’s consider an example.

Tom leaves his property first to his brother Harry for the duration of his life and then to his nephew John. In this example, John is the remainderman as he will get the property when Harry dies. Similarly, Harry is the life tenant and he has a legal right to this property until his last breath.


  • 1

    Permission to use and make profit from property:

    By getting declared a life tenant or remainderman, one can have power not only to use the property freely but an authorised person can also make money from that property. However, life tenants do not have complete ownership so they cannot do anything which can jeopardise the remainderman’s stakes. If the remainderman feels that the current occupant is damaging the property, he/she can file a law suit against that person.

  • 2

    Rights of a life tenant:

    A life tenant can relish full benefits of his/her status. If a property owner has declared you life tenant then you can do anything including sell it or use it.

    However, you must know that validity of the deal will end with your life even if the buyer  is still alive. After the death of a life tenant, it’s the remainderman who will have all the authorities.

    The one good thing is that life tenant does not have any responsibility to maintain and renovate the property. One can use that property without spending even a single penny.

  • 3

    Rights of a remainderman:

    Though, the remainderman is not a first hand beneficiary but it does not mean that he /she does not have any right. They have full rights to protect their stakes. For example, if he/she feels that the property is not in good hands then filing a petition can help a remainderman to protect his/her interests.

  • 4

    Types of remainders:

    There are two types of remainders, vested remainders and contingent remainders. A vested remainder is the person whose right to ownership cannot be removed. Even if the life tenant has children, still a vested remainder will have the ownership after tenancy expires.

    A contingent remainder is a future remainder. For example, if a property owner has declared someone a life tenant and nominated the tenant’s kids as remainder then the unborn kids will be contingent remainders.

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