Cullman, AL asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for Alabama

Q: Hello My mother-in-law wanted her son to have her home. She passed away and the house is in my husband's name at the

Tuscaloosa Court House but she did not redeed it to him. There is only one sibling left and now she wants to sell the house, what can I do as the widow of the son. Does the house belong to me?

1 Lawyer Answer
James Blount Griffin
James Blount Griffin
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Madison, AL
  • Licensed in Alabama

A: This is a complex question. A stated intent is not enforceable. In probate and real estate law, written and notarized documents, i.e., deeds and wills, rule.

If the person whose name is on the deed as owner of the property died without a will, then the property is ruled by the laws of "intestacy." This is the rule of blood: surviving spouse has the highest priority, then the children and their survivors, then the parents, if still alive, and then the aunts and uncles and their children, if none of the higher priority heirs are alive.

Based on what is written above, the deed to the house remains in your mother-in-law's name, but her son, your husband, is listed in the courthouse as the person who pays the taxes. Now, he has passed away after his mother passed, and your sister-in-law wants to sell the house and take the proceeds, but your children through your late husband appear to have a one-half interest in your mother-in-law's house.

You need an attorney who can help make that claim for your children, or, if your husband left a will and named you as his executor, you could claim his share for his estate.

Call me. If cannot help you myself, I will try to recommend someone who can.

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