How can I remove my deceased sister’s husband from my late father’s home?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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How can I remove my deceased sister’s husband from my late father’s home?

My father passed away 5 years ago and since then my brother and I agreed to allow my sister and her husband to reside at my father’s home without yet beginning probate. My sister was incapacitated and wheelchair bound due to numerous strokes. Now that she has passed on, we would like to begin probate procedures to sell the home. However, her husband, my brother-in-law, refuses to move. The home is in desperate need of repairs and a thorough cleaning he also refuses to do this and he hasn’t paid taxes on the home. We are basically at a loss.

Asked on January 30, 2018 under Real Estate Law, Michigan


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Since your sister died, what you can do now depends on just how title to the property is held. If it is in all of you and your siblings names as "joint tennats with rights of survivorship", then upon her death you and your brother became the sole owners. At this point you can file an evicition to get your brother-in law out. If there is no right of survivorship language on the deed, then you held title as "tenants in common". This means that upon your sister's death it became an asset of her estate and her beneficiaries (if she left a Will) or her heirs (if she died without a Will) are you and your brothers co-owners. In such a situation, when co-owners cannot agree as to ownership matters, the law provides the remedy of "partition". In such a case, the court will order a division of the property if practical. However, such is not the case in the instance of a single family house. Accordingly, the court will order a "sale in lieu of partition". This means that the house will be put on the market for fair market value and once it is sold the proceeds will be equtably distrivbuted to all of the owners.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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