Panama City Beach, FL asked in Estate Planning for Alabama

Q: My mother is in Alabama and in poor health, she has a will leaving all property to me

Her new husband is not in the will or on the deed. They’ve been married 18 years. Who gets possession of her house after her death? She has also been a victim of elder abuse by her husband for at least the last year.

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2 Lawyer Answers

A: There is no way I can answer that question without knowing whose name is on the deed to the house. If her name only is on the deed, and there is a valid will devising it to you, you will inherit the house. If there is no will, then the house would be inherited by her children and her spouse in equal shares --- after the debts and expenses of the estate were paid. If the deed is a joint tenancy with the husband with a right of survivorship in the house, the house would be his on her death. Now, you must be aware of a statute called the spousal elective share. That law says that a spouse may be entitled to up to a 1/3 share in an estate -- depending on the size of his property separate from the deceased spouse's property. Sound complicated? That's why you need a lawyer.

If you believe she is being abused, report that to the Department of Human Resources in the county in which your mother lives.

Jack T. Carney agrees with this answer

1 user found this answer helpful

Jack T. Carney
Jack T. Carney
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Birmingham, AL
  • Licensed in Alabama

A: There are so many new “elder abuse” laws on the books these days. If there is elder abuse, DHR or the local authorities could be helpful and you may want to contact them to discuss your options.

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