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TJ, Esq.
TJ, Esq., Attorney
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Experience:  JD, MBA
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my parents made a will in 1970s, non since. my father passed

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my parents made a will in 1970's, non since. my father passed in 1997. my mom passed 5 weeks ago. in the will it states "to my daughter, i devise the parcel of real property now occupied by me as my residence with all furnishings, appurtenances, and improvements used in connection therewithin located in (name of city/county/state, to have and to hold for and during the term of her life or until such time as she marries or until such time as she no longer desires to live in said residence whichever occurs first. it then says i will pay all taxes, repairs etc. after my dad died we put the house in both my and my brothers name to protect it in case of nursing home placement etc. now my brother wants me to put the house up for sale or buy it out. i felt that as long as i pay for all i could remain in this house. what are your feelings/opinions in regard to this. thank you so much
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  TJ, Esq. replied 6 years ago.

Hello and thank you for allowing me the opportunity to assist you.

First, I’m sorry for your loss. Please accept my condolences.

If the house were still in your mother’s name when she died, I would say that you have the legal right to occupy the house per the terms in the will. However, you wrote that the house has been in your name and your brother’s name for the last several years. Therefore, your mother’s will has no bearing on the issue. In other words, your mother’s will can’t control what happens to property that your mother did not own at the time of her death.

However, as an owner of the house, you do have the right to occupy it … as does your brother. But your brother does not have to own the house with you if he doesn’t want to own it. From a legal perspective, he has the right to force a sale of the house. You could either buy him out, or the house can be sold and the proceeds split.

So, if I were you and I wanted to keep the house, I’d work a deal with him to buy him out. As I mentioned above, the will is meaningless with regard to the house since your mother did not own it when she died.

Have I satisfactorily addressed your concerns? If not, then please feel free to ask for clarification.

If the information that I provided is helpful, then please remember to click the green accept button so that I will receive credit and compensation for my time. Positive feedback is always appreciated as well. Thank you and good luck!

DISCLAIMER: Please be aware that only an attorney licensed in your state is authorized to advise you in legal matters, and that the limitations of this setting may prevent your legal issues from being thoroughly addressed. Accordingly, please understand that (1) by answering your question(s) I am not acting as your attorney, (2) my answer(s) should be construed as general information only, and (3) our discussion is not an adequate substitute for an in-person consultation with an attorney.

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