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John, Attorney
Category: Legal
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Experience:  Licensed and practicing attorney.
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Ill try to make this brief...about 20 years ago, my mother-in-law

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I'll try to make this brief...about 20 years ago, my mother-in-law paid to have a 2-car garage with an apartment attached on our property for a place to live. 5 years ago my husband passed away and after 2 years, I realized that the house and property were more than I could take care of. I told my brother-in-law (her only son) that I was going to sell. They put "Mom" in an assisted living facility. She passed away a little over a year ago. Now my sister-in-law says that I owe them the money for fuel oil (for heating) that was left in the tank in the amount of $600. She waited over 2 1/2 years (from the time "Mom" moved out till now)to present me with this bill. There are many reasons including watching out for her (she was over 90) since my husband died. She feels it's part of THEIR inheritance...the garage and apartment are mine. I know that she'll take me to small claims court (I told her I didn't feel I owed this ) What do you think
Hi, My name is XXXXX XXXXX I’m happy to assist you with your question today.

The sister and brother in law have no rightful claim to be reimbursed for this. First, there was no contract (written, verbal or implied) that you would for some reason reimburse them (assuming they paid for the oil to begin with) for unused oil or that they're somehow the rightful heir to leftover oil (assuming "mom" paid for the oil). Then there's the issue that no one asked (including mom who was the rightful owner of the time when she moved out) for reimbursement for the oil until now, which implies that they abandoned any right, if one ever existed, to claim some sort of refund assuming one ever existed (which like I stated above, it does not appear there was an agreement as to any reimbursement for unused oil). The apartments added value to your property, if any, also would not somehow give rise to a claim for an interest in the property and you have not indicated that "mom" was somehow given an interest in the property (other than being allowed to live there for an undetermined amount of time). There's virtually no chance of her winning in small claims court for the fuel and zero chance to claim any property interest in the home. You may want to just pay it to them to keep the family peace, but I'd be of the opinion that you have no legal obligation to pay them this amount.

I believe this answers your question. However, if you need clarification or have follow-up questions regarding this matter, I will be happy to continue our conversation – simply reply to this answer. If you are otherwise satisfied with my response, please leave a positive rating as it is the only way I am able to get credit for my answers. Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX wish you all the best with this matter.

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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

John...thank you so much. This does put my mind at ease. Lesley


You're welcome. Please leave a positive rating before you exit this chat as it is the only way I get credit for my answers. You are not charged any additional fee by the website for positively rating my question, but if you do not positively rate my question I do not get credit for my answers. If you have any questions in the future regarding this matter come back to this thread and I'll be happy to answer. Thanks and good luck with the matter.