An Older Brother Lives with my Parents – What Happens to the House When They Pass Away?
A surprising number of families have wondered what will happen to the family home if their parents die without a will — especially when an adult child or other relative calls the place home as well. In this article, we'll talk about some common scenarios and how each one could be handled.
Does my brother get to live there forever?
First of all, the last living person in the house doesn't automatically get to keep it. The legal owners are listed on the deed. If one or more of them is deceased, the ownership interest in the home passes according to the deceased's will, if any, or Texas intestate succession law when there is no will.
In an optimal situation, the last parent to pass away left a will with clear instructions as to who gets the house or the proceeds from its sale. They may in fact have left the house to the relative who was living there. If so, the other surviving heirs will have to decide whether to challenge the will or abide by its terms.
Who decides when he needs to leave?
If the property was left to one or more other heirs, then the heirs and executor, after opening the estate in the probate court, might decide to let the relative continue living in the house to keep an eye on things and help preserve the home's value for a given period of time, with or without paying rent.
If the consensus is that the relative needs to pack up and get out, the executor of the estate needs to seek an attorney's advice to determine whether a formal eviction is needed or a straightforward letter to vacate the premises would suffice.
The estate representative has a duty to protect the home
In any event, the person appointed to represent the estate has a duty to guard the home's value and keep it insured until it can be sold or transferred to the correct beneficiaries.
If you see a problem brewing over mom and dad's house, have a heart-to-heart with them while you can. Ask them to make their preferences clear in a will, and to allow the home to be sold and divided if the heirs can't agree otherwise.
Peterson Law Group helps clients develop estate plans and advises executors and estate administrators during the probate process in and around Conroe, Texas. We answer your questions and explain your legal options. Call one of our experienced probate litigation attorneys at 979-703-7014, or visit us online at Peterson Law Group.