Home ownership

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Home ownership

My stepfather passed away last year and my mother took possession of the home, although it is still in his name. My mother took a lawyer to my stepfather while in the hospital a day before he was transferred to hospice. He could

not speak or physically sign anything but they attempted to wake him in his state and then signed a power of attorney that listed all of his children. Who has rights to the home? It is still in my stepfather’s name but my mother allows

other individuals to reside there. The house was purchased prior to the marriage and my mother was never listed on the home.

Asked on September 16, 2018 under Estate Planning, Missouri

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

A power of attorney ceases to have any power after the person dies; POA's are only good while the person making them is still alive. So the POA is wholly irrelevant at this point. If your stepfather had a will, his estate (what he owned) went to whomever the will said it did. If he did not, it would have passed by "intestate succession" (the rules for who gets what when there is no will). In that case, your mother would have gotten half his estate (including a half interest in his home) and his children would have gotten the other half.  
So we can't answer definitively: it depends on whether there was a will and, if so, what it said; though if there was no will, the home is NOT your mother's exclusviely, but would be owned half by her, half by his children.


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