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Barrister
Barrister, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 33716
Experience:  15 yrs estate law, real estate. Wills/Trusts/Probate
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My dad and mom were married years dad died in 2014 he

Customer Question

My dad and mom were married for 32 years dad died in 2014 he left a will that my mom new nothing about but he had 2 sons prior to him marrying my mom. The sons also new about the will but did not tell mom. Dad left the house him and mom shared to the sons in his will. Went to probate court to determine elective shares mom was willing to give the house to sons as long as she could continue to live in the home until she died. My mom is 75 years old and disabled. Sons agreed to give life time estate but nothing was ever put in writing. Sons came later on stating they wanted her to pay the property taxes and homeowners insurance and up keep the property but they still put nothing in writing. My wanted to do the homestead exemption for the taxes on the house but they refused to allow her to do this because she is not the owner and her name is ***** ***** the house. Also she was pay the house insurance from her account and they kept stating that she was not contacted her insurance company and paid the full years insurance in doing so they altered the account. Well long story short they are evicting my mom for non payment of homeowners insurance and property taxes stating this was a violation of rental/lease agreement but yet there never was an agreement. They also stated that they no long want to give her a life estate in the home and wants her out. She goes to court for writ of restitution on Monday. What are her rights to stay in the home? Would she be considered a life time tenant? What are her options at this point?
Submitted: 7 months ago.
Category: Estate Law
Expert:  Barrister replied 7 months ago.
Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I am a licensed attorney who will try my very best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can. There may be a slight delay in my responses as I research statutes or ordinances and type out an answer or reply, but rest assured, I am working on your question..When the will was probated, who got the house?.Was mother actually granted a life estate according to the probate court judge's order?.Or were son's given the house entirely with no mention of a life estate for your mother?..thanksBarrister
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
The sons got the house I was not there but mom said that the judge added up her lifetime expectancy and calculated 15 years based on her age and told them to work out the details together. The boys agreed to the life estate but never put anything in writing. Now they are saying the no longer want her to have a life estate and wants her out of the house period. The only papers mom received was the form that breaks down the elective shares nothing else.
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Dad made the will 2 years into their marriage they were married 32 years. I believe dad may have had every intention to change the will but never got around to it he had Alzheimers and Diabetes.
Expert:  Barrister replied 7 months ago.
Ok, the problem here is that if the judge awarded the sons the entire house since father owned it as his separate property, then any verbal promises to give mother a life estate don't mean anything because it has to be in writing in order to be legally binding..And with most life estates, it is normal for the life tenant to be responsible for taxes, insurance, and maintaining the house as a condition of getting to live there..So here, the only way mother could prevent them from evicting her would be to file a motion to stay any eviction writ in the probate court to have the records reviewed to see if the judge actually ordered a life estate or not..But it sounds like they worked out an informal "life estate" where she is legally a tenant and her "rent" was to be her paying taxes, insurance and maintenance. If she failed to do so, then they can claim she is in breach and then move to evict her, which it sounds like they did..With that said, when she goes to court on Monday, she needs to explain the insurance and taxes situation and why they weren't paid in full when due by her. If she can get the judge to accept that it was a mix up due to the brother's interference, then the judge may just allow her to repay the brothers and reinstate here "life estate" so she can continue to live there. ..thanksBarrister
Customer: replied 7 months ago.
They can do this even if they never put anything in writing? So she doesn't have any rights as the surviving spouse at all to stay in her home? My mom sold her house to move with my dad when she got married and all the proceeds went into their house. No she has to walk away from it? This does not seem fair?
Expert:  Barrister replied 7 months ago.
They can do this even if they never put anything in writing?.That is why they can do this... there is nothing in writing from the court stating she has a life estate.. So she is just a tenant who can be evicted at will.. So she doesn't have any rights as the surviving spouse at all to stay in her home? .If the probate judge didn't award her any rights to stay there, no. She was living in her husband's house, which he must have owned prior to them getting married so her name wasn't on the deed.. That makes it his separate property to do with what he wants..My mom sold her house to move with my dad when she got married and all the proceeds went into their house. No she has to walk away from it? This does not seem fair?.I hate to say it, but the time to argue that she had an equitable interest in the house by putting money into it was when the probate case was going on in front of the judge. If she didn't fight for an ownership interest in the house, or did and lost, then it has already been decided..And I agree that it is an unfair outcome and father should have taken steps to ensure that his wife was provided for since they were married for 32 years.... And to be fair, mother should have insisted on having her interests protected before she put all her money into his house....I am very sorry that I don’t have better news, but please understand that I do have an ethical and professional obligation to provide customers with legally correct answers based on my knowledge and experience, even when I know the answer doesn’t make the customer happy.....Barrister

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