San Rafael, CA asked in Estate Planning for California

Q: My brother lives with my elderly mother. She would like a letter stating he has to vacate the house in a certain time.

This would be after her passing.

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4 Lawyer Answers
Genene N. Dunn
Genene N. Dunn
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Tustin, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: I typically put a provision like this in the person's trust. Your mom should get a trust done and add this provision to her trust and make sure the property is owned in the trust.

Nina Whitehurst and Jeffrey Louis Gaffney agree with this answer

Jeffrey Louis Gaffney
Jeffrey Louis Gaffney
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Carlsbad, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: A letter won't do it because after her death, someone else will own the property and the letter won't have any power.

I am guessing that she wants him to be able to live there for X years, then the property will go to her heirs. That is done best in a Living Trust; it can also be done in a Will but the Trust gives you more protections and convenience. The Trust can give him the right to live there, and define his duties, and then the Trustee will dispose of the property for all the heirs.

Chris M. Bradford
Chris M. Bradford
Answered
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Santa Monica, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Your mother needs to write a will and a trust. In the trust she can state who is in charge of her estate. Maybe you? She can also give instructions to have the house sold and divided up among her children, if that is what she wants. Or she can give the proceeds to whomever she wants. She would discuss this with her will or trust attorney. If the house is sold after her death, then your brother would have to leave when the house is sold. If the house is not sold, but given to someone other than your brother, then that person would eventually be able to remove your brother. Is your mother mentally competent? Does she understand and remember who her natural heirs are, who her children are? Does she know what assets she has? Is she able to travel to an attorneys office? If not, it may be possible to have an interview with her over the phone, or Skype or Zoom or some other method.

She doesn't need a "letter." She needs a will or trust.

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Juanita Guillen
Juanita Guillen
Answered
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • San Diego, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Your mother can indicate her wishes in her will, a trust or even a lease agreement. However, you must consider that depending on the duration your brother has lived on the property he has acquired certain rights and thus would be entitled to certain notice requirements. We handle landlord/tenant issues in addition to estate planning. To understand your mother's rights and obligations you should contact an attorney to further discuss her specific circumstances.

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