Life Tenant Expenses in Florida

  • Posted by Bruce McDonald
  • August 12, 2016
  • (0) Comments

            Despite a surviving spouse’s right to elect 50% of an inherited homestead when the homestead was not in joint names, instead of the traditional “life estate,” there are still a lot of life estates in Florida.  A life estate is a type of real property ownership for a period of time, measured by the life of the “life tenant.”  The life estate ends automatically when the owner dies.

            With life estates there are often questions as to what expenses the “life tenant” has to pay and what expenses are the responsibility of the “remainder-men” (remainder-persons?) who are the  property owners when the life tenant runs out of life on this earth.

            Amazingly, someone went to the trouble of lobbying the Florida Legislature to pass a detailed statute stating which expenses the life tenant must pay and which ones he or she need not pay.  As one might expect, the life tenant expenses include property insurance and taxes and ordinary repairs.   The remainder-men must pay for extraordinary repairs.  Of course, neither ordinary nor extraordinary repairs are defined, leaving plenty of expenses to fight over.

            The statute apportioning expenses is found at section 738.801, Fla. Stat.   http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&Search_String=&URL=0700-0799/0738/Sections/0738.801.html   It is well  worth reading if allocation of expenses is a serious question.