Virginia Life Estate Laws

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Ownership Interest

Virginia life estate law gives the grantor certain rights over the property during his lifetime. While the life estate grantor is no longer the legal owner of the property after the deed is transferred, he may continue to live in the property or rent the property for the remainder of his lifetime. During his life the life estate grantor is responsible for maintaining the property. A remainder interest may be granted to a third party, giving the party ownership of the property if the life tenant (original beneficiary or grantee) passes away after receiving the estate.


The life estate grantor is eligible to receive Virginia homestead exemptions, senior citizen exemptions and any other tax exemption that existed at the time of the time of the deed transfer. The life estate grantor is also responsible for paying all property taxes while residing on the property. Life estate deed transfers are also exempt from probate and reduce the amount of traditional estate taxes. When the grantor passes away, a tax accountant should be consulted to ensure no taxes or fees go unpaid.

Selling the Life Estate

Virginia law gives the life estate grantor the right to sell the property at any time. The life tenant (grantee) may not sell the property or force the grantor to move out of the property. Life estates are also safe from creditors and collection attempts. Neither a creditor or a bankruptcy trustee can seize or sell property transferred using a Virginia life deed.


About the Author

Tameka McSpadden is a freelance writer with several years of professional experience. With both a Bachelor of Science in health care management and an associate degree in business administration from Bellevue University, McSpadden enjoys writing about all medical topics. She is currently preparing for a literary agency internship in North Georgia while attending various writing workshops.

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