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Richard, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 55314
Experience:  32 years of experience as lawyer in Texas. I'm also a Real Estate developer.
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Due to sibling issues, I have financial POA mother-in-law

Customer Question

Due to sibling issues, I have financial POA for my mother-in-law who has advanced Alzheimer disease. In addition to her home in Louisiana she has 62 acres in Mississippi. The Mississippi property was deeded to her three children several years ago with her retaining usufruct. It is time to cut timber on the property. The sale will result in approximately $100,000. Will the proceeds of the sale go to my mother-in-law because of her usufruct or should it be divided among the siblings because of there ownership of the property?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Richard replied 1 year ago.

Good morning. My name is ***** ***** I look forward to helping you this morning

Usufruct is the the right to use the land for a certain duration..usually life. It gives your mother in law the right to use the property, to enjoy the fruits and income of the property, to rent the property out and to collect the rents, all to the exclusion of the underlying real owner. Included in that right is the right to timber the property and retain the proceeds. Thus, the $100,000 would legally belong to your mother in law. But, as POA, you have the authority to act on your mother in law's behalf and make decision for her; although decisions must be made in her best interest due to your fiduciary duty to her. You could make a valid argument that due to her advanced Alzheimer's, that she no longer needs the Mississippi property or the cost of its upkeep and terminate her usufruct on the property in which case when the property was timbered the proceeds would go to the remainder owners. But, you would want any beneficiaries to your mother in laws estate to consent to this so you wouldn't later sue you for breach of fiduciary duty.

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