Doug Wasser was quoted in the June 10, 2012 Sunday New York Times Real Estate Section, Q & A, on the topic of life estates.
And here is the actual Q & A
A Life Estate and a Future Sale
Q In 2005, my mother, my brother and I went to a lawyer and changed the deed to our single-family home in Brooklyn from ownership by my mother to ownership by my brother and me and with my mother being given a life estate. Because of an illness, my mother will now reside in a nursing home and not return home. What are the implications for a future sale?
A Douglas F. Wasser, a Manhattan real estate lawyer, says that when a property owner gives a life estate to someone else, that means the “someone else” has been granted the right to use the property for the balance of that person’s life. It would appear that the mother transferred title to the sons and retained a life estate for herself, giving her the right until her death. If the mother wants to relinquish her life tenancy, she can do so. “Such a transfer should only be done in close consultation with legal and tax advisers,” Mr. Wasser said.