Warren, PA asked in Real Estate Law for Pennsylvania

Q: What does this mean exactly in a deed in PA?

Excepting and reserving to "John Smith", during the term of his life, a parcel of land 240 square fee, located on the westerly side of FR Rd; (goes on to provide the boundaries)

Is this a life estate?

What rights does a new owner have on that parcel, if any?

Does it automatically convey to the new owner upon the death of John Smith? Can John sell his life estate?

If the property mentioned above is serviced by a well on the primary property, but no easement or rights are listed specific to that well, what can a new owner do about that?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Anthony M. Avery
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A: That is apparently a Life Estate, but you did not state who gets the Remainder or even a Reverter. Life Tenant can sell an estate for his life. New owner only gets possession at death of Life Tenant, but could buy out the Life Tenant's interest. Unless some other estate is created in the granting and habendum clauses, the Remainderman's estate is vested upon deed execution, but does not vest in possession until the life estate terminates. Water Easements need to be in the servient tenement's chain of title, not the dominant's title, to be enforceable. But is is nice to have the appurtenance stated on your deed. Consult with a competent PA attorney for further clarification after searching the title.

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