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.
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.
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