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Barrister
Barrister, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 34872
Experience:  Attorney with 16 years experience
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My wife passed away a year ago. I say wife but technically @

Customer Question

My wife passed away a year ago. I say wife but technically @ the time of her death we were not married. You know, married/divorced/reconciled. In her will, I was to live in her (once our) home rent free and only to pay the taxes. Ownership of the home went to her son, executor. In the year that she has passed an issue of the mortgage has come up. Her son, while I don't think he has lied to me, I feel, has not been 100% forthcoming with all the information re: this mortgage. He has told me that taxes are presently, or about to, come due. I can pay the taxes but, frankly, if I'm not going to be allowed to reside here, I'm not going to pay them. Now my question, do I have any rights under any type of "Squatter's Rights?"
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.

Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I will try my level best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can.

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If you were given the right to live in the home rent free and only pay taxes in her will, then this is what is called a "life estate" and you would have the right to remain as long as you wanted to according the the bequest of the life estate in the will as long as you complied with the conditions.

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So while son is the legal owner, you have the right to use and enjoyment of the property under the life estate until you pass or otherwise abandon the house, or don't fulfil the conditions of paying the taxes.

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thanks

Barrister

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Barrister, but if the mortgage is not paid am I simply "out of gas" and have no recourse?
Expert:  Barrister replied 1 year ago.

Unfortunately yes. Legally if the son didn't pay the mortgage and allowed the house to go into foreclosure, then yes, the life estate would lapse and be extinguished during any foreclosure sale.

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But if you didn't pay the taxes, he could claim that you were in violation of the conditions of the life estate and move to terminate it through the court.

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So it is something of a gamble to not pay the taxes if he isn't letting you know what is going on with the house..

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thanks

Barrister

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