If I’m a beneficiary of my mother’s estate, does my sister have the right to tell whether or not I can move into my mother’s home and then charge me rent?

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If I’m a beneficiary of my mother’s estate, does my sister have the right to tell whether or not I can move into my mother’s home and then charge me rent?

I am beneficary to the property also.

Asked on November 13, 2012 under Estate Planning, Connecticut

Answers:

Catherine Blackburn / Blackburn Law Firm

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

If your sister inherited an interest in the home, then she is entitled to own part of the home.  If she owns part of the home, she is entitled to a benefit of ownership, which could be rent.

If the home is in your mother's name only, then you and your sister need to consult a lawyer in your state to change title to the property or sell it.  If your names are on the deed, then you should consult a real estate attorney about what to do.

You and your sister cannot cut the other out of their ownership rights.  If you try to do this, there are actions the other can take that will make everything very expensive and very difficult (like an action to partition the property or for eviction). 

Although I am a lawyer, I agree with conventional wisdom that says avoid lawyers if you can.  This is not because lawyers mess everything up or make it harder.  It is because people who can't reach an agreement usually go to lawyers expecting to "win it all" and that almost never happens in litigation.  Even if it does, the winner will pay large amounts for attorney's fees, so emotional satisfaction better be worth a lot of money.  The best solution is work it out between yourselves and then go to a lawyer to prepare the legal paperwork.


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