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#1 tipster_5184

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 10:40 AM

I own a house in which my boyfriend lived, and suddenly was killed in a car accident this Sept. 2012. There was no written contract between he and I. When he first moved in 6 years ago our deal was for him to pay the payment on the house and buy the house within 2 years. He agreed to make all repairs and to keep the house up to specification. After 2 years went by he didnt have the money to buy the house so we just did a month to month . Every few months I would ask him to buy the house and he would put me off saying I will in a few months or give me a date but it never happened. Now that he is deceased the family of lawyers I might add is trying to hold me to a verbal agreement on the house and wants it to go into probate. I only found this out by accident when I went to the house and the family member was there with an appraiser having the house appraised. I asked why and the lawyer brother said for probate and taxes due to the contract. I said there was no contract and that the son and I were trying to make a deal on a price for the house because he wanted to buy the house. My question is can they put this in probate without me signing something saying I am agreeable to this? Which I certainly am not. I paid on this house before he moved in for 9 years myself. Also, I found out when going into the house he was a hoarder and he has destroyed the house inside. He never let me in the house for years but I thought it was because he didnt want me to see that he didnt keep a clean house. I never went past the front door and did see it was a mess but really didnt know the extent of the damage until he died.

#2 Fallen

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 10:59 AM

Unless this agreement was in writing, I'm afraid the family has nowhere to go with their argument. A court would see any money he was a tenant who paid the equivalent of rent. If it was more than fair market value rent, then a court MIGHT think under an unjust enrichment angle that you owe his estate some money, but then you mention that he trashed the place, so it may be you should file a claim against/sue his estate for the damages. Reading between the lines of your post, it appears you moved out at some point and let him stay there on the presumption that sooner or later he'd decide to buy it.

Not sure what you mean by "wants it to go to probate." While the estate is free to sue you, probate court wouldn't be the proper place, and of course since he didn't own/buy the house, there's no viable probate court angle here.

It's unclear why you'd allow family members access to the house, except if someone showed you a letter of administration from a probate court and you were allowing them to remove his stuff.

If these people are still entering this property/won't return keys, you really need to talk with a local real estate attorney and then change the locks.

I'll echo PG's advisory "warning" with a twist: (Many) legal issues are complicated. Explanations and comments here might not fully identify or explain the ramifications of your particular problem. I do not give legal advice as such (and such is impermissible here at any rate). Comments are based on personal knowledge and experience and legal info gleaned over a quarter century, and every state has differing laws on and avenues to address most topics.  If you need legal advice, you need to consult (and pay) a professional so that you may have someone to hold accountable.  Acting on personal and informational advice from a stranger on the internet is a bad idea -- at least not without your own thorough due dilience/research and confirmation as it applies to your situation.  :)


#3 pg1067

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 11:00 AM

I own a house in which my boyfriend lived, and suddenly was killed in a car accident this Sept. 2012. There was no written contract between [him] and [me]. When he first moved in 6 years ago our deal was for him to pay the payment on the house and buy the house within 2 years.


Just so you know, a contract relating to the purchase/sale of real property generally must be in writing to be enforceable.


After 2 years went by he didnt have the money to buy the house so we just did a month to month .


Not sure it's relevant, but I'm a little confused as to the nature of your relationship with this guy. You said he was your boyfriend, but it sounds more like you were nothing more than his landlord (seeing as how you obviously didn't live together and given your statement that he "never let [you] in the house for years").


the lawyer brother said for probate and taxes due to the contract. I said there was no contract


Why would you say that when, in your post here, you confirmed that a contract did exist? Maybe the contract was not enforceable, but it certainly existed (according to what you wrote here). I'm not sure what "lawyer brother" means, but did you provide this person with a copy of the deed to the property that shows title in your name? Seeing as how you're the only living party to the contract, you might also want to ask this person what evidence he has that a contract existed and regarding the terms of the contract.


can they put this in probate without me signing something saying I am agreeable to this?


Depends on what "put this in probate" means. The executor of your boyfriend's estate certainly can claim that the house and/or your boyfriend's contractual interest in the house are assets of the probate estate. Likewise, you're obviously free to contest any such claim. You're also free to file a claim against the probate estate for any damage to the property.

It probably would be a good idea to consult with a local attorney for advice.

#4 pg1067

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 11:07 AM

While the estate is free to sue you, probate court wouldn't be the proper place, and of course since he didn't own/buy the house, there's no viable probate court angle here.


It continues to baffle me why you insist on making up stuff like this. There are 50 states in this country, and every one of them has slightly or vastly different probate laws and rules of procedure. Since the poster didn't identify the state where this is taking place, we cannot possible know whether the dispute may or must be handled in probate court or some other court. In my state, for example, if it were the executor's position that the estate has a legal interest in the property, it most certainly would be "proper" and "viable" to pursue the claim in the probate court. And I seriously doubt that's not also the case in at least some of the other 49 states.

Likewise, your assertion that "the family has nowhere to go with their [sic] argument" if the agreement was not in writing is wrong because it ignores the fact that exceptions to the statute of frauds do exist and it cannot be discerned from the original post whether any exception applies here.

#5 FindLaw_Amir

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 11:19 AM

I agree with the previous poster, it would be a good idea to consult with a local Real Estate Lawyer to advise you of your rights regarding this matter.
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#6 tipster_5184

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 11:39 PM

The state is Texas. The deceased has a brother who is a lawyer / county attorney himself and is handling the estate. The heirs to the estate are two sons. I never gave the family a key to the house they got one from the wrecker service when the car was towed . The brother/lawyer is county attorney in the same county of the house and where I live also. I have consulted 2 attorneys in this town and they wont take my case due to him being county attorney. The attorney /brother told me I cant keep the property from them and have to let them get the stuff out. So I just let them have at it. The property is so destroyed inside it cannot be sold in present state. I will keep trying to find an attorney to represent me in another town. It seems to me I may have to just sue the estate for damages since I cant prevent the probate court from claiming the property. The son of deceased said he would pay any price I asked for the property and that I could have any items out of the house I wanted . I now see probably that was a tactic to keep me at bay until they could get the property.

#7 harrylime

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 04:39 AM

... since I cant prevent the probate court from claiming the property.


Why not? The land records show that you are the owner, don't they? (By the way, the "probate court" itself does not do any claiming.)


The son of deceased said he would pay any price I asked for the property...


Doesn't this contradict any claim that your boyfriend owned the property and that it is now included in his probate estate?

Are you certain that you aren't misinterpreting something in this situation?

#8 tipster_5184

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 05:40 AM

I just may be since I don't know the laws on probate. I thought they were just taking my property. Yes I have land records that I own the house. They wont let me know anything so it all seems underhanded but maybe it isnt. You have given me good information and a chance to look at this situation better. I am still going to find out my rights if I ever find a lawyer that will help me. Thanks to all. I will keep you posted as to how this plays out.

#9 harrylime

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 06:30 AM

If there were a contract for your boyfriend to purchase the property, then any rights and obligations under that contract are the concern of the probate estate's administrator. But, based solely on what you have conveyed here, I just can't see that there is a contract.

The son's communication with you may not have optimal. But your mention of "The son of deceased said he would pay any price I asked for the property.." suggests the possibility that the son had an appraiser there in order to determine what sort of offer to make you for the purchase of the property. Mind you, I am only saying a possibility.

#10 pg1067

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 08:12 AM

I have consulted 2 attorneys in this town and they wont take my case due to him being county attorney.


So find one in a neighboring town or even a neighboring county.


The attorney /brother told me I cant keep the property from them and have to let them get the stuff out. So I just let them have at it.


Nothing wrong with allowing family members to remove the deceased's personal property.


The property is so destroyed inside it cannot be sold in present state. . . . It seems to me I may have to just sue the estate for damages since I cant prevent the probate court from claiming the property.


I don't see what the two things have to do with each other. They're two completely separate issues (although, if the court were to decide that the estate owns the property, you obviously wouldn't have a claim for damages).




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