What are my rights regarding legal ownership of real estate after my parents’ passing?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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What are my rights regarding legal ownership of real estate after my parents’ passing?

My parents owned a house and I had a manipulating sibling. Many years have

passed and I let things go thinking they left her the house. After the Will it

never said my sibling could have the house; on the deed to the house it only said she could live their as long as she lived. I assumed it was left to her but someone said to me, it only says

Asked on July 26, 2018 under Real Estate Law, Massachusetts


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

You need to bring the will and deed to lawyer to review EXACTLY what it says, because wills are enforced according to their plain language. Without seeing the will, no attorney, including us, can give you a definitive answer. That said, a reasonable interpretation based on what you write, is that she has a life estate but both of you have a remainder interest--that is, she, and *not* you, has the right to reside there for her whole life or until she voluntarily moves out, but that after she moves out, you both inherit the house (that is, you and she both have an ownership interest and could, for example, profit by selling it), or after she dies, you and her other heirs, if any (e.g. any children) will inherit. But that is only an educated guess at what your parents did--again, you need the will (and deed) to be reviewed by a lawyer.

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 AttorneyPages.com 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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