Can my mom’s boyfriend inherit her house over me?

I’m not fully sure how the Will is written. However, years ago I wasn’t making good life choices so she changed it so that her boyfriend could live there for as long as needed but the house would be turned over to me as long as I’m doing good. Now, she’s about to pass on and it’s been over 5 years since I got my life together and stopped the bad choices that she was concerned about. Her boyfriend, however, thinks the house will be his and that I’ll have no legal binding to my mom’s house. Can he be awarded full ownership because of this?

Asked on October 4, 2015 under Estate Planning, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

1 If her boyfriend is on the title with her e.g. they bought it together, or she put him on the title later as joint tenants with right of survivorship, then the house will automatically become his if she passes before him.
2 Your mother doesn't need to leave the house to her children, so if she has a will and the will leaves it to him, he will inherit it.
3 She also could have given him a "life estate" and left you the "remainder interest." If she did, then he can live there as long as he lives, and you would get the house after he dies. In this case, he'd be obligated to take basic care of the house, to preserve value for you.


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