If I inherited a home from my deceased brother and my nephew lives there, am I or the estate liable if he does anything really stupid?

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If I inherited a home from my deceased brother and my nephew lives there, am I or the estate liable if he does anything really stupid?

My nephew lives in the home and has a life estate as per the trust. However, he is a convicted felon.

Asked on July 24, 2013 under Criminal Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

One person is not criminally liable for the actions of another, unless that first person in some way assisted, conspired with, etc. the second person to commit the crime. So you are most likely safe from criminal liability.

You could potentially face civil liability, however, if he injures someone in the area of the home, under the theory that if you knew of any criminal proclivities but, knowing of them, did not take any actions (e.g. calling the police; seeing if there was some way to remove him from the home), that you were therefore both negligent and at fault in causing the injuries. It's not a given you'd face liability in this case--a person is usually not civilly liable, either, for another's criminal acts--but be aware that it is not impossible you could face criminal liabilty if he injures another in way you could have foreseen.

Also, if he sells drugs, stolen goods, etc. out of the home, it may be possible for the government to confiscate the home under certain circumstances, even though the nephew only has a life estate.


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