A Contentious Issue In Probate: When Adult Children Live At Home & One Parent Passes Away

According to the United States Census Bureau, one-third of young adults aged 18-34 lived with their parents in 2015. While this type of living arrangement can benefit both adult children and their parents, what happens when the parents pass away, particularly if a surviving parent no longer wants the adult child to live in the home? If you are an adult child and you are in this situation or concerned that this scenario could happen one day, here are a few important things to understand.

Did the Decedent Put You In Their Will to Inherit Part or All of the House?

If you are listed as an heir on the will and the will specifically states that you are to get part or all of the house, you may be able to remain living in the home or receive the equitable portion of your inheritance. Of course, remaining in the home will further an already contentious issue between you and the surviving parent. As such, it may be in the best interest of all parties involved for you to receive a monetary sum instead, which can be settled in probate court. However, the home has to be considered marital property.

Did the Decedent Have Ownership in the Property?

When it comes to marital property, both husband and wife do not need to be listed on the title in a community property state. In a common law state, however, only the spouse who is listed on the title owns the property. There's also another matter to consider if both spouses owned the property: does the title list "tenancy by entirety," or "joint tenancy with the right to survivorship," because this annotation will make a difference on whether or not you have rights to the property. You will only have rights if the decedent had ownership with a "tenancy in common" title.

Have You Been Paying Rent or Household Expenses?

Even if you do not you have rights to ownership of the property from inheritance, you may still be able to remain in the home, at least for a brief amount of time, if you had been paying rent or household expenses, such as the electricity bill. In this case, the surviving parent would need to go through the court process to evict you from the home.

If you answered yes to any or all of the above questions, you may have a right to remain in the home, depending on the laws of your state. Contact a probate dispute lawyer for more information on what your rights are.