A life estate would have to be created by something in writing signed by the grantor. As a result, unless something strange was going on, the grantor should know what is going on. The document creating the life estate may have been recorded, and if that is the case, it should be public record. Those documents can also be found by ordering a title report.
Douglas N. Kiger, Attorney at Law
Blado Kiger Bolan, Tacoma, Wash.