DEFINITION of 'Viager'

A (French) real estate agreement where property is sold on a reverse annuity basis. Also known as a Reverse Annuity Mortgage or Charitable Remainder Trust.


For example a person would sell their property to a purchaser in exchange for a down payment and regular cash installments for the rest of their life (while continuing to live in the house). The only catch is that when the person dies the property is surrendered to the purchaser.

The advantage of a viager agreement is it allows elderly people to benefit from the sale of their homes while retaining its use. The downside is that if the person dies one week after entering the arrangement, then the buyer gets the property for a fraction of the cost.

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