Kissimmee, FL asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Probate for Florida

Q: Am I required to give 50% of my homes value to my husband's son?

My husband recently passed and our home was in his name only. He has a son from a prior marriage, which is already looking for his half of our estate. I put down $10,000 from MY pension on our home and still owe over half of the mortgage. Am I required to give 50% of my home to my husband's son? If so, can I be paid back my down payment and half of any money I pay moving forward towards the mortgage since we would ultimately be "sharing" the house and its value? Can I fight this?

3 Lawyer Answers
Randy Bryan Ligh
Randy Bryan Ligh
Answered
  • Probate Lawyer
  • Baton Rouge, LA

A: Since this sounds contentious, you should consult with a few estate /probate attorneys in your area, discuss your specific case with them, and then hire the one with whom you are most comfortable. You need to do this so that you become aware of the options available to you.

Phillip William Gunthert and Barbara Billiot Stage agree with this answer

Bruce Alexander Minnick
Bruce Alexander Minnick
Answered
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Tallahassee, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: 1. First the GOOD news: No, you are not required to give your son-in-law 50% of the home you and your husband lived in before he passed away.

2. Next comes the not as good news: Unless your husband had a Will all the property in his estate will be divided in the manor provided by Florida Law, under the Florida Probate Code.

3. Now for my professional advice: Unless there already is an open Probate Estate case in the Circuit Court where you reside someone who is qualified (they must have a legal interest in the estate, like you do) needs to open one soon.

4. So in my professional you should consider hiring an experienced Florida lawyer who can help you find the answers to the most important initial questions before doing anything else.

5. Try looking for experienced Florida lawyers here on Justia and contact some until you find one you think is the best.

Phillip William Gunthert and Barbara Billiot Stage agree with this answer

1 user found this answer helpful

Phillip William Gunthert
Phillip William Gunthert
Answered
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Orlando, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: I am very sorry for your loss on the passing of your husband, please accept my sympathy and condolences for you and your family. The answer to your question is that it depends. You as a surviving spouse have substantial rights as it relates to Florida Homestead Property and spousal rights as it relates to probate with or without a Will or even a Trust. You at minimal have the option to take a life estate in the property or you can take a 50% share, whichever suits you best. I would further add, if a Will exists then more could go to you. Also, you have substantial additional rights as it relates to exempt property that goes to you and family allowance up to $18,000, household furnishings, reimbursement for estate/funeral/burial costs and so forth. While the son of your husband may have some rights, they may be substantially limited or reduced. Remember, probate only deals with assets in your husbands name alone that have to be probated and does not include any assets with beneficiary designations. You should start with a Florida Probate Attorney and you should definitely get a copy of the deed for review as well. When you provide additional details and specifics the attorney can better and more precisely guide you on exactly what needs to be done, type of probate based on assets or if a probate is needed at all under the circumstances and so forth.

Barbara Billiot Stage agrees with this answer

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