Do I have any rights as a son and the stepmother says she has a life estate and she says the property will go to my father’s Aires when she passes but we have never seen any paperwork to say what the situation is..
ATTORNEY ANSWER BY MARGARET L. CROSS BELIVEAU:
The surviving spouse is granted a life estate in the property in order to protect her rights. A life estate means that she has the right to use and occupy the property during her lifetime. Should she move out, she is entitled to any income generated from the property. At the same time, she has the responsibility to pay for the expenses relating to the house. She must pay the taxes, insurance, maintenance and upkeep. If she wishes to sell the property in the future, she will be entitled to a percentage of the proceeds and the remainder men will split that balance. The percentage is determined according to her age. As she gets older, the value of her ownership interest declines.
At some point a homestead determination will need to be made and a new deed executed with your mother-in-law and you and your siblings, if any.
Legal Disclaimer: Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on since each situation is fact specific, and it is impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship. A lawyer experienced in the subject area and licensed to practice in the jurisdiction should be consulted for legal advice.
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