An interest in land that lasts only for the life of the holder. Thus, the holder of a life estate cannot leave the land to anyone in their will, because their interest in the land does not survive the person. The holder of a life estate has a full right to possess the land or transfer their interest during their lifetime, but must refrain from engaging in [[wex:waste|waste]], activity which would prevent the next person in line from putting the property to full use.
A life estate is created by a deed that gives the land to the person "for life" and identifies what should happen to it after that person dies. For example, a deed stating that land would go "to John Doe for life, then to Jane Doe" gives John a valid life estate, and Jane a remainder. John could use the land during his lifetime, and even sell his interest to a third party, but that third party would have to surrender the property to Jane upon John's death.