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dma0613

family home dispute

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My grandparents purchased a home in 1952, both have been deceased since the early 1990's.  My uncle has been living in the home.  He passed away in April of this year.  My mother is the oldest child of my deceased grandparents,  she now suffers from dementia,  We have Power of Attorney over my mother's affairs.  I need to know in what order would my grandparents home be passed down. Would it go to my mother's children or her next oldest sibling?

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Well...the most important fact you've left out of your post is whether either or both of your grandparents had a will.  If they both had wills, then the first of them to die presumably left the home to the survivor.  What happened after that will depend on what the will of the second of them to die said.

 

If neither of them had wills, then things get even more sticky.  Under Missouri's intestate succession law, if a person is survived by a spouse and children who are also children of the surviving spouse, then the estate is divided between the surviving spouse and the children.  Ultimately, this would result in the children inheriting the entire estate, but that brings us to another omission from your post.  Note that, for the moment, I'm assuming Missouri is the relevant state.  However, just because you now live in Missouri doesn't mean your grandparents lived in Missouri before they died over two decades ago or that the house in question is in Missouri.  If Missouri is not the relevant state, please identify the relevant state.

 

Were your grandparents' estates (plural) probated after they died?  If so, what happened with the house as a result?

 

Any sort of analysis will require knowing how the house is titled today and some details regarding your grandparents' wills, if any, and probate proceedings following their deaths (if any occurred).

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There were no wills.  The house is located in Missouri and it has never been in probate.  After my grandparents died the house deed was somehow put into my two uncle's names, who are now both deceased.  The last one living passed away in April of this year.  While he was ill the state of Missouri required that he have no assets in order for him to receive medical care, so my cousin had to put her name on the deed.  When he passed away, I was told that the home would be turned over to me if I moved in and made all of the necessary repairs and kept the home in the family, which I have done so far.  Well, I just found out that one of my aunts went behind my back and got my cousin to sign an affidavit turning the deed over into her name.  I want to know if I have any legal recourse since I have already lived there for 4 months and have put major money into the property.

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You need to do a lot more research before anyone here can give an intelligent answer.  You need to find what legal document put the house into your uncles' names, it doesn't just happen.  How did your cousin put her name on the deed. I assume you uncle signed a deed to her, but you need to find out.  You also need to find the document that put the house into your aunt's name.  An affidavit is not sufficient to transfer title.  All of these document if they exist should be found in the recorder's office in the county court house complex in the county where the property is located.

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1 hour ago, dma0613 said:

There were no wills.  The house is located in Missouri and it has never been in probate.  After my grandparents died the house deed was somehow put into my two uncle's names, who are now both deceased.  The last one living passed away in April of this year.

 

So...at some unstated time after the deaths of two persons who died over 20 years ago, the title was transferred to your two uncles.  Hard to imagine how this could happen with neither of your grandparents having wills and neither estate being probated, so that's the first issue here.  However, if title was properly transferred to your two uncles, and if they owned it as joint tenants, then all that matters now is whether your uncle (the one who died in April) had a will and, if so, what his will says.  If he also died without a will, then the home will pass according the Missouri intestate succession law (roughly, in order, surviving spouse, direct descendants, parents, siblings and descendants of siblings).  It's also worth pointing out that, if the transfer of title to the two uncles happened relatively shortly after your grandparents died, then even if that transfer happened improperly, it may be too late now to undo it.

 

 

1 hour ago, dma0613 said:

While he was ill the state of Missouri required that he have no assets in order for him to receive medical care, so my cousin had to put her name on the deed.

 

This is a horrible misstatement about medicare/medicaid law.  It's not as simple as simply transferring assets out of the ill person's name, and what you've described here could be fraud.  Also, it's worth pointing out that your cousin couldn't unilaterally "put her name on the deed."  Your uncle would have had to have signed a deed transferring some or all of his interest in the property to your cousin.

 

So...EXACTLY how is the house titled at the present time?

 

 

1 hour ago, dma0613 said:

When he passed away, I was told that the home would be turned over to me if I moved in and made all of the necessary repairs and kept the home in the family

 

Told by whom?

 

 

1 hour ago, dma0613 said:

I just found out that one of my aunts went behind my back and got my cousin to sign an affidavit turning the deed over into her name.

 

Ugh....  So title is solely in your aunt's name?

 

 

1 hour ago, dma0613 said:

I want to know if I have any legal recourse since I have already lived there for 4 months and have put major money into the property.

 

Nothing in your post suggests you have any claim to ownership of the home.

 

As far as I can tell, title to the home started in your grandparents names and, following their deaths, ended up in your two uncles' names.  Apparently, following the death of the first uncle, the second uncle transferred title to your cousin, who then transferred title to your aunt.  At most, your grandparents' children might have some sort of viable claim, but that would only be if too much time has not passed since the house was put in your uncles' names.

 

You wrote that some unidentified person told you that, when your uncle died, "the home would be turned over to [you] if [you] moved in and made all of the necessary repairs and kept the home in the family."  You might have a claim against whoever told you this for fraudulently inducing you to put money into the home.  On the other hand, putting money into the home without (apparently) having anything in writing was a foolish thing to do.  However, the chances of succeeding with something like this are incredibly slim.

 

Assuming the facts are as you have explained them (and I agree with "doucar's" suggestion that you look into this a bit more), you certainly can consult with a local real estate attorney, but I suspect you'll be told that there's nothing here worth pursuing.

 

Essentially this thread is an excellent "what NOT to do" guide when dealing with property owned by deceased persons.

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