What are my rights to my mother’s house now that she is deceased?

My sister and I do not agree on the course of action pertaining to my mother’s house. I live in it; she does not. Approximately $6k is owed. I am a unemployed single father and just need time to square things up. I cannot afford anything close to what I have now.

Asked on October 13, 2011 under Estate Planning, Michigan

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss and for the situation.  You did not mention if your Mother left a Last Will and Testament or ifshe died what is known as "intestate."   Then the intestacy statutes in your state will govern how the assets are divided.  I am going to assume that either under the Will or intestate you and your sister split the assets 50/50.  That means that you each have an equal right to the house or to its proceeds. You also have equal obligations to maintain it, etc.  Now, has anyone been appointed as the personal representative of your Mother's estate?  The PR will be the one to determine the best outcome for the house should there be no Will because the PR has to look at the debt of the estate as well.  What happens after that depends.  If you and your sister are transferred the house subject to the mortgage and you are both on the deed then either one of you has the right to request partition of the house - splitting it in two - which usually results in sale and splitting of the proceeds.  You need to come to an agreeement. Pay the mortgage off as rent - whatever.  And some one needs to be appointed.  Good luck.    


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