Estate Law Questions? Ask an Estate Lawyer.
Hi - my name is ***** ***** I'm licensed in Tennessee. Let me know your question and I'll try to respond. Thanks!
Thanks for the information.
I'm typing your answer now......
If you own a life estate/have a life estate interest in the property, then you have a right to occupy the property until your death.....but you don't actually own an interest in the property. Instead, it's just a right to occupy the property.
Thus, you couldn't be arrested for going onto the property because your life estate rights. Also, your sister couldn't sell the property in fee simple without you signing off on it because of your life estate.
If you refused to sign, the sale would be subject to your life estate ---- which would like drive away any prospective buyers as they likely wouldn't want to share the property with you until your death IF they were to purchase it outright.
If you have a life estate in the property, then that means you have the right to occupy/live at the property until you pass away.
The best thing you could do is hire an attorney to file a petition for a permanent restraining order to keep her from denying you access to the property.
No, an order to stop her from denying you access. The bot***** *****ne is that if you were left a life estate to the property, then you're entitled to enjoy/use that life estate and she can't stop you from doing just that.
You'd file for the TRO against your sister and ask the court to issue the order. You'd then have to serve your sister with the notice and have a court date.
You should have to file in the county where the property is located.....
It would be very difficult to file this on your own, so you should hire a lawyer if at all possible.
You'd need an attorney licensed in SC to file this for you.....as for costs, that would depend on how much fighting your sister wants to do.....but you're probably looking at a few thousand dollars, at the least.
Also, you'd likely have to file this in Circuit Court.
Here's a link to the SC Court system that outlines the jurisdiction for each trial court: http://www.judicial.state.sc.us/
If you can't afford an attorney, you may want to contact the SC Bar Association and ask for help locating a local legal aid office that may be able to assist you.
You can't file in Tennessee because the property is located in SC.....and SC courts would be the only court system with in rem jurisdiction over the property.
I can't email you, but you can bookmark this link or copy and paste it into an email to yourself (we don't have access to email customers).
Oh, I thought you said the property was in Charleston, SC.......sorry if I misread. In that case, you can file in the county where the property is located......and you can seek help from the Tenn. Bar Assn. to find a pro bono lawyer.
Ok.......you should be able to file for a restraining order in Hamilton County Chancery Court
I understand that ---- that's why you need to seek help from a local legal aid office. You can call the Tenn. Bar Assn. for help locating a lawyer that can help.
What rights you have depends on what the life estate says, what the will/probate documents say, etc., but your life estate is a valid right to occupy the property.
The TRO will allow you to gain access and stop her from keeping you out.
You really need to try and find a local lawyer to help you as I can only give you some information and direction....but I can't be as much help as a local attorney can.
If the deed came after your mother's death (which is my understanding), then the will should take precedence.
If your mother deeded the property to your sister BEFORE her death, then the deed would take priority.
Yes, the TRO is a temporary restraining order.
That's probably going to take someone looking at the deed documents/language and the wills to determine where things stand. But, if the deed was signed by your mom before her death, then you may be in a very precarious legal position.
But, it's worth having a local lawyer take a look at the land records and deed filings, her will, etc. to tell you whether there's anything to pursue or not as I obviously can't do that through this forum.
If the property is in Tennessee, then the chancery court of Hamilton County should be the proper jurisdiction.
The will AFTER the deed may not matter because your mom didn't have anything to transfer at that point because she had already transferred the property. But, the will could show your mother's intention and that your sister took advantage of her to get what she wanted.
You can file the matter yourself (in CHANCERY COURT for Tennessee), but you'll have to draft all of the documents as there aren't any forms. But, legal aid could be the best help if you don't/can't hire a lawyer.
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