Port Orange, FL asked in Estate Planning and Landlord - Tenant for Florida

Q: Does a will have more legal authority than ownership?

I am living with someone that has me in a will to live in the home this person owns if they were to die paying only taxes and utilities, This person is leaving the home to a relative. Would the person inheriting the real estate be able to evict or charge rent?

2 Lawyer Answers

Terrence H Thorgaard

  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Freeeport, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: If the will is admitted to probate (i.e.: a petition filed with the court), and the property is distributed to you in the probate proceeding, it would be yours (assuming the decedent owned full title at the time of his or her death); and not the relative's. If so the relative couldn't charge you rent, evict you, etc. But your question is ambiguous; is the decedent leaving the home to you or to the other person (the "relative")?

Phillip William Gunthert agrees with this answer

Phillip William Gunthert

  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Orlando, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: You really would need to provide additional details and informaiton (like a copy of the Will and how the property is presently titled), that said, generally speaking, it sounds like you are being given a life estate in the property possibly, this means that you are allowed to live in the property for your life in accordance with the terms of the Will/Estate Plan that is set up. If the other individual becomes the owner and the Will and or your right to stay and live there is not clearly set up as part the estate plan, you may well have to pay rent and or even be evicted. I caution you, proper estate planning is not a "do it yourself" online generic form preparation scenario if you want it done correctly and you want it to establish the rights you seek and are referencing. Also, if you are a spouse and this is your homestead , you would also have substantial rights and claims related to the estate and home in accordance with Florida Statutory laws. At some point you need and should speak with a Florida Estate Planning Attorney so that you can provide more details and get a more concise answer based on your exact circumstances that exist.

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