What are my legal rights ifI was left beneficiary to a house?

My fiancee passed away and I was left beneficiary with the mother having living estate rights. She doesn’t want to pay half of the property taxes and trying to find ways to help his mother with the financial burden. Do I have legal rights to rent out a room to the house? My fiance’s name was on the deed so he did own the house. She has living rights on the deed.

Asked on November 1, 2011 under Real Estate Law, New Jersey


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If you were given the property that you are writing about subject to your fiancee's mother having a life estate in the property, the mother has the obligation to maintain the property's upkeep as well as pay its property taxes absent documentation contrary.

To answer your question in the best manner, you need to carefully read the Will or trust provision leaving the mother a life estate in the property in that the document should set forth the obligations between you and her owed regarding the parcel.

If the mother is willing to have the home rented out, then you can do so. I suggest that you have a written agreement drafted by a real estate attorney to this effect so that all parties are on the same page.

However, you cannot force her to rent out a room in the property. If she cannot pay the property taxes, you need to make the payments to protect your ownership rights to the property.

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