Q: Can I continue to collect rents for mom's investment property while courts settle her estate so I can pay the mortgage?
I had quit claimed the deed to the two family house I owned in CT to my mom who lived in NY and she mortgaged it in her name. I had lived on one floor and rented the other to cover the mortgage as I always did, with leases in my name and checks paid to me that I transferred to her acct to pay the bank with. She has died unexpectedly without a will just after we listed the house for sale. As she was divorced and living in NY, I assume I file in CT probabte too and the state will award to me and my brother to split and hope he disclaims knowing he had nothing to do with this property. Can I continue to collect rent to pay the mortgage without it being turned over the to estate? Do I have any grounds with transaction history and family testimony to dispute my brother's claim should he decide to be greedy? Should I take it off the market knowing how long it might be tied up in court? What about to credit card companies? Can they force the sale since wasn't her homestead? Thanks
A: This is a complicated situation. First, it does not seem that you have a valid lease with the tenants. If your mom is the owner of the property (by law the QCD transferred it to her so you no longer own it), then the lease would have to be between your mom and the tenants. Second, since you do not have a lease with your mom, the estate might have the right to evict you or ask you to pay rent as well. This depends on who is handling the estate and may not be an issue. Third I would not recommend collecting rent and giving it to yourself. This is an asset of the estate and any income generated by estate owned property is owned by the estate. Since your mom did not have a will, the court would have to approve the sale of the home so you can keep it on the market but any contract should be conditioned on probate court approval. Since there is no will, this may take a decent amount of time, but it is hard to say. You definitely need the assistance of the CT probate attorney for this type of situation.
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