Newport News, VA asked in Real Estate Law for Virginia

Q: My adult nephew has lived in his deceased (over 15 yrs.) fathers house paying all the bills for over 20 years.

He is the only child and needs to put the house in his name now and was told by the court since there was no will or estate etc he needed to get a real estate agent or attorney to certify the deed. We are not sure what to do. The house is paid off but needs some work.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Richard Sternberg
Richard Sternberg
  • Potomac, MD
  • Licensed in Virginia

A: If there is no will, the house passes outside of probate in accordance with the intestate succession laws of Virginia. The fact that the nephew paid the bills for 15 years is irrelevant. There is no reason not to consider that rent, and it certainly doesn't sound in adverse possession. But, if the title owner had no spouse at death and there are no other children, the son may be entitled subject to the claims of creditors. Getting a consult with a lawyer in the county where the house is located might be helpful, but a lawyer licensed in Virginia could steer you in the correct direction while your nephew files the proper paperwork.

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