If my grandmother passed over a year ago, what are her husband’s rights to her former home?

She transferred the deed to her house to daughter and granddaughter about 7 years prior to her passing, so there would be no confusion that the home would not be left to her husband, the step-grandfather (whom was living in the residence with grandmother). The grandmother and step-grandfather were married for about 22 years.He remained living in the residence but was asked to move out of the property. Resistant at first, he then left willingly and gave his keys to the family. His possessions still remain in the home. Does the step-grandfather have any legal rights to the home? Is it possible for him to have any legal ownership over it?

Asked on November 6, 2015 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss.  Wow, it sounds like things are emotionally complicated here. If the property was your Grandmother's alone and in her name alone and it was separate priperty prior to their marriage then the trasnfer is valid so long as he does not make a claim that the property in some way went from separate to joint during those 22 years.  Like if he poured his life saving sin to it and she represented that it was "theirs" etc.  It can be complicated and the courts look at these matters on a case by case basis.  They are fact specific.  Also, a spuse in entitled to a certain amoutnt of inheritance under the law and often have a right to elect against an estate and its assets.  But the house was not part of her estate at the time of her death and this becomes the issue. That is why it can be complicated to decipher in this forum. His possessions, though, you admit are his and not your Grandmothers.  I would seek help from a lawyer contacting him as to your proposal as well as with regards to his belongings.  Good luck.


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