What to doif a co-owner of real estate passes away?

My girlfriend of 19 years owns a home with her father. He past away 9 months ago. She has not yet informed the mortgage company but we have an even bigger problem. She has stage 4 colon cancer and will probably only live another year or so. Should we refinance the house and make it so the house is paid off when she passes? This way I will still have a home to live in and take care of her son. What are our options?

Asked on March 9, 2011 under Real Estate Law, California

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 your present situation.  I strongly urge that you seek advice from a qualified estate attorney in your area.  This is not the type of thing one can answer her in this forum and give guidance on without telling you about the "whole" picture.  You need to discuss possibly a trust, guardianship, right of inheritance of her son, etc.  You need to look at all your finances in general and what will be the best in the long run.  You are not claiming common law marriage and you have not stated how old her son is although I get the feeling that he may have an issue that needs to be dealt with as well, ad then a trust would be something really to think about.  Good luck to you all.


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