Bridgeport, CT asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Probate for Puerto Rico

Q: Great-uncle wants to gift me his house in PR, can he gift now or do a testament naming me sole heir?

Great-uncle has property but no other assets. He’s single and no children. He was one of 11 children (6 full siblings and 5 half siblings). My great-uncle does not want any of his siblings nor their children to inherit his house or anything. I am his “tutor” aka guardian and the only one that takes care of him. Recently brought him to live with me. He plans to get a lawyer to pursue two things: gift/donate the house to me now and also make a testament to bequeath me the house.

My questions:

1.) Can he gift/donate the house to my now and it be placed in my name?

2.) Is a testament pointless if he gives me the house?

3.) What different outcomes would occur if he were to donate the house to me now or instead naming me as sole heir in his testament?

4.) any other help?

Thanks for your help.

2 Lawyer Answers
Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Crossville, TN

A: Your great uncle "can" gift you the house now or he "can" gift you the house in his will. Whether he "should" do one or the other is an entirely different question. There are many issues for him to consider, especially with respect to lifetime gifts, including but not limited to loss of control and exposure to your creditors (for him) and adverse tax consequences (for you). Any time a transaction involving real property is being considered, the real property owner or acquirer should hire an attorney to ensure that it is being done properly and to understand all of the consequences.

Nelson Jose Francisco Alvarez-Aponte
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Carolina, PR
  • Licensed in Puerto Rico

A: Hello and thank you for using JUSTIA. The inheritance laws of Puerto Rico are very strict. Your Great Uncle must create a Last Will and Testament in order to acheive his intent for you to be his sole heir. In said Will he needs to disinherit his siblings and his nephews/nieces of those siblings whom have passed away leaving you as the only legítimate inheritor of his assets. With out a Will his legal inheritors as per local law will be his siblings that are still alive at time of his death and those children still alive at his time of death of those siblings whom have passed away prior to your Great Uncle.

A donation at this state of his life would not be legal and thus can be refuted at time of death since said property is the only asset of the Estate to be created at his time of death. Local law reserves his only asset in favor of his inheritors.

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