If in her Will my mom left me her home and its contents but my stepdad gets to live in the house until he dies, do I have the legal right to the contents of the house?

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If in her Will my mom left me her home and its contents but my stepdad gets to live in the house until he dies, do I have the legal right to the contents of the house?

He has a life estate but my mom left me the home and contents of the home. Do I have the legal right to the contents even if he gets to live there?

Asked on September 18, 2019 under Estate Planning, Alabama

Answers:

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

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

A life estate only relates to real property, not personal property. So in this case, while you do not have rights to the house until your stepfather passes, you so have immediate rights to its contents, at least to that which your mother solely owned. Any jointly held belongings would be your father-in-law's property.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

Yes, a life estate in real estate does not give the recipient of it a right to personal property or possessions in the home, so if the home's contents were willed to you, you are entitled to HER possessions there--you can't get anything that is his, of course, or anything they paid for/bought together, since if they jointly owned it, it would likely be his now. But anything purely hers--e.g. her jewlery or clothing; art or electronics or furniture she had before marrying him or which was willed or gifted to her, etc.--you would inherit and could take.


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