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There are 8 heirs to my mother's estate. if one of the heirs…

There are 8 heirs...

There are 8 heirs to my mother's estate. if one of the heirs pays the taxes on her properties do those properties become his?

Lawyer's Assistant: Since estate law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?

Michigan

Lawyer's Assistant: What documents or supporting evidence do you have?

I don't have any yet. The 1st installment since her death is due in August.

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

My brother is the heir I'm asking about. He is 49 years old and has lived in our family home his whole life. Does he have more claim to the house than the other 7 surviving children?

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Answered in 4 minutes by:
6/8/2017
RobertJDFL
RobertJDFL, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 14,818
Experience: Experienced in multiple areas of the law.
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Thank you for using Just Answer. I am a licensed attorney and look forward to helping you. I am reviewing your question and will reply back shortly.

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Customer reply replied 11 months ago
Ok

Good evening,

My condolences on your loss. Merely paying the taxes does not entitle an heir to the property. Things like the taxes, mortgage, and upkeep/maintenance of the home should be paid from the estate, but regardless, the estate, including the home, would still have to be distributed in according with your mom's Will, or if none, in accordance with state law.

I don't see a claim for adverse possession ("squatter's rights") in this instance either. Adverse possession is the occupation of land to which another person has title with the intention of possessing it as one's own. Each state has its own laws regarding who has ownership of the land under adverse possession. In Michigan, possession must be actual, visible, open, notorious, exclusive, hostile, continuous, and uninterrupted for the statutory period of 15 years. It is important to note that the term ‘hostile’ is a term of art in the law of adverse possession and does not imply ill will. It simply means that the owner did not give the person permission to use the property and the use of the land is inconsistent with the rights of the owner.

In other words, let's say your mother left a Will that divided the home among all of the siblings. Your brother, in order to claim adverse possession, would have to openly maintain sole possession of the home for an uninterrupted period of 15 years, paying everything, etc., in order to be able to claim adverse possession. That is not the case here.

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Customer reply replied 11 months ago
Ok. Does he have to pay the estate rent for living in the house that also belongs to the other 7 of us? There is no will and we have not filed in probate court yet.

Legally, he doesn't have to, no, but there are obviously going to be costs and expenses associated with the household.

There are some practical problems that can be addressed by having the sibling there, also . For example, the property may not be insurable, if it is vacant. If it is insurable, the premiums would likely be *significantly* higher, if there is no one at the property. The reason for this is largely due to security concerns. So having someone there helps lessen your costs and keeps the property more secure. It may also be easier to market and sell the property if there is someone living there, as opposed to a vacant house.

Presumably, the sibling would also pay utility costs while there, which the estate would otherwise need to pay.

Having said this, there are costs that will be incurred, regardless of whether there is someone there, or not. These include insurance and property taxes. These expenses would need to come off the top of the estate. Perhaps, in lieu of rent, the family could agree that the sibling living there would pay some or all of the insurance costs, and/or costs of things like maintenance, as well as the utilities (which they should rightfully pay if living there).

You could check with a realtor to determine what the fair rental value of the property would be -that would be the best way to avoid a dispute, but if an agreement cannot be reached that way, then you may have to let a judge decide on what a fair rental price is.

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Customer reply replied 11 months ago
Can I independently request from my brother copies of an insurance claim he filed for a roof repair along with the bill for the repair and the payout from the insurance company? I would like to know this info myself but I'm not sure he has to present it before we enter probate. The claim and repair happened after my mother's death. Unfortunately, he's not always forthcoming so I would like this type of information before probate. Thank you for your help and your kind words.

You can independently request it, but he's not obligated to give it to you. Once you file for a probate, and there is an executor/personal representative (same thing) he should give that to the executor, because if he did pay money out of pocket, the estate should reimburse him for that expense during the "claims period" of the probate (the claims period of a probate is merely when known creditors should be paid and other creditors are given opportunity to file claims against the estate).

RobertJDFL
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Customer reply replied 11 months ago
Thank you. You've been very helpful.

It's been my pleasure. Thank you for being a Just Answer customer -your patronage is appreciated.

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