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Richard, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 55715
Experience:  32 years of experience as lawyer in Texas. I'm also a Real Estate developer.
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My husband and I lived in his mothers 2 family house in one

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My husband and I lived in his mother's 2 family house in one of the apartments for 40 years. We have 3 grown children.

In the mid 80's, my husband's brother and wife came to live in my mother-in-law's apartment with her. They have 2 grown children.

My mother-in-law had a will which divided her possesions among her 3 children. The 2 brothers also have a sister who is married and lives elsewhere.

My husband was not aware of this, but my mother-in-law signed the house over to my husband's brother in about 1995. To be fair, she had asked my husband if he wanted the house. He inexplicably said that he did not want the house, but he did not know that title was transferred later on to his brother.

My mother-in-law died in 2002. My brother-in-law gave his sister a settlement of $80,000, saying that this was one-third of the approximate value of the house in 1995. We continued to live there - my husband and I in one apartment; his brother and wife in the other. We paid a modest amount in rent - $800 per month, which was agreeable to my brother-in-law. We thought the house was in the estate process and we were paying the taxes and some minor things from time to time, such as painting, a new washer and some appliances as needed.

My brother-in-law wants us to leave our apartment and offered us $80,000. He said he was under no obligation to offer us anything, that at the time of her death, the house did not come into play because it no longer belonged to her.

We were thinking of seeing a lawyer, but were curious if we have any grounds to do so or if we're wasting our time (and legal fees). We had a figure in mind, thinking that he would have the entire house to himself and could sell it at a good price or rent our apartment and have some profit. Thank you.
Welcome! My goal is to do my very best to understand your situation and to provide a full and complete answer for you.

Good afternoon. Unfortunately, your brother in law is in a very strong legal position. He does not have to offer you the $80,000 as the house was given to him during your mother in law's life and thus belonged to him 100%. As the owner, he also has the right to terminate your tenancy and/or to sell the property. So, legally, it might be better to take the $80,000 and not press the issue with him...that will safe you the legal fees and prevent him from deciding to play hardball with the risk you would get nothing.

This is the part of my job I don't like...when the law is not in favor of my customer. I wish I could tell you the law was different than this, but, I can only provide you information based on the law so that you can act on the best available information to you. ………..I wish I had better news, but can only hope you recognize and understand my predicament and don't shoot the messenger. I'm sorry!

Thank you so much for allowing me to help you with your questions. I have done my best to provide information which will be helpful to you. If I have not fully addressed your questions or if you have any follow up questions, or if I have misinterpreted your questions in any way, please do not rate me yet, but simply ask a follow up question without rating so I can provide you with a fully satisfactory answer. If I have fully answered your question(s) to your satisfaction, I would appreciate you rating my service with 3, 4, or 5 faces/stars so I can receive credit for helping you today. I thank you in advance for taking the time to provide me a positive rating!

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Thank you so much for the positive rating! I appreciate having had the opportunity to serve you! If I can be of assistance to you in the future, just look me up and I will be happy to help!