Tallassee, AL asked in Estate Planning for Alabama

Q: I have been living with a man for almost 2 years. We are not married. We just bought a house but I am not on the deed or

Mortgage. What will happen if he dies? Do I have any rights? I help make the mortgage pmts.

Related Topics:
1 Lawyer Answer
Jack T. Carney
Jack T. Carney
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Birmingham, AL
  • Licensed in Alabama

A: Your interest in the home may be at risk if he predeceases you. Further, Alabama law recently abolished common law marriage, so you would not have the protection of a spouse even if you hold yourself out as husband and wife. It would be best for you to protect your interest in the home, especially if you continue to make mortgage payments. If you do not take any action, the home would pass to his heirs (assuming he does not have a Will) and then you would need to spend money to sue them to recoup your mortgage payments and it could be a difficult case. You would also lose your right to remain in the home.

The best option is for the two of you to decide what you want to happen to the home should he pass away and then memorialize that decision in your planning. That conversation and subsequent action is really what "estate planning" is all about. Some options include: (1) adding your name to the deed, (2) creating a debt instrument memorializing your payments or (3) having him draft a Will to direct that you receive the home in the event of his death.

This answer is designed to be general in nature. No one can provide you with a recommendation without gathering additional information. If you have questions about your specific situation, please seek the advice of legal counsel in your area. Good luck.

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.