Can a family member kick me out of the home I have lived in since I was a child

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Can a family member kick me out of the home I have lived in since I was a child

My mother passed on April 20, 2018. My cousin has tried to
kick me out of my house. My mother lived here where I took
care of her. My grandmother and grandfather lived here
before that. My kids grew up here. Can my cousin swoop in
and kick me out? Do I have any rights here. How do I
defend myself.

Asked on July 6, 2018 under Estate Planning, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

The answer depends on who inherits the home, which in turn depends on whether these is will and, if so, what it says, or if there is no will, on who inherits under "'intestate succession" (the rules who gets what when there is no will).
1) If you only inherit, it's your house.
2) If other people, like your cousin, inherit, and you do not, it's *their* house, not yours (that you lived there, raised you kids there, etc. is irrelevant) and they can remove you from it: no one has the right to live in another person's home without their permission, even if they have been living there formerly.
3) If you and others jointly inherit, they can't kick you out--no owner can evict another owner from the property--BUT they could bring a legal action (traditionally called an action for "partition," though your state may have a different name for it) to get a court order requiring that the home be sold and that the proceeds of the sale (after paying the cost of the sale and paying off any mortgages, HELOC, reverse mortgages, liens, etc.) be spit among the owners. When the owners of a home disagree as to what to do with it, the law gives courts the power to order the real estate's sale.


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