Estate Law Questions? Ask an Estate Lawyer.
Hi; My goal is to provide you with great service - if you have any questions during our chat, please ask! I'll do my best to ensure your satisfaction! I am sorry to hear of your recent loss. Was their a will or trust addressing the land, or a contract between your in laws and you and your husband re: compensation?
No contract or will - just yearly rent to his mother. We paid all expenses, taxes, etc
So the property is passing via intestate succession which means that it goes to the next of kin, equally. Do you have a few moments? I'd like to look into a few things to see if I can find anything helpful. Otherwise, the property would go to the heirs, equally divided. If the heirs could not decide on which acres belong to who, they would need to petition the court to determine what is equitable. One could bring a partition action (to split the land so it is divided among the heirs; or to sell the property and divide the proceeds).
And the property deed did not list you or your husband's name, correct?
Selling is out of the question. Is there any kind of good will or anything that we can bring to the table so the land doesn't get parceled out? Actually the land was put into my husband's & his brother's names (plus spouses) 40 years ago after his father died.. His mother's name no longer appeared on any property deeds because of her remarriage. We had a verbal rental agreement with her.
If the land is in the 4 adults' name, it is not part of the probate estate; rather it would be owned by the 4 adults named on the deed. I found a case that may help you (depending on the facts, and on the judge who hears it. It should at least assist you in presenting your argument, and in negotiations). Please see: http://www.ndcourts.gov/court/opinions/20070294.htm Pay particular attention to paragraphs 8, and 14. As these are factors considered by the court in ruling, in this case, that there was NOT an oral contract to purchase. If you can distinguish your situation from this situation, that would be helpful. Also please see paragraph 13 as to what elements need to be proven. There is also a legal doctrine called "quantum meruit" where a court infers an agreement for payment, based on a party's acceptance of labor/skill etc.
This case is in Illinois but it gives a good overview of the concept of Quantum Meruit (basically an equity concept to prevent "unjust enrichment". http://www.state.il.us/court/Opinions/AppellateCourt/1998/1stDistrict/June/HTML/1973988.txt
Were you able to review the above?