What are my rights to a house that I shared with my late fiancé?

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What are my rights to a house that I shared with my late fiancé?

A few months ago my fiancé of 6 1/2 years and father of my children was unexpectedly killed in a rollover accident with our truck. We shared a house together for 2 1/2 years before he died and were both present at the signing of the land contract between him and the owners. The land contract was in his name only since the owner is a preacher and his wife and himself decided since we weren’t married they only wanted his name on it. I was there again, and I frequently signed my own name to the house payment each month. My name is the only name in my state farm insurance policy that has held the home insurance the duration of us living there. When he passed away, I wasn’t and still am not sure of my rights and options.

Asked on July 21, 2015 under Real Estate Law, Michigan


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

While it would be worthwhile speaking to a real estate attorney in detail, to see if you do, somehow, have rights, most likely you have no rights to the house:

1) Being engaged is not a legal relationship--it gives you no rights. Engagement is a custom, not the law.

2) Only the person on the title is legally an owner.

3) Helping make payments or providing insurance does not give you any rights over property, especially when you were getting a benefit (i.e. living there) at the time--i.e. you were already receiving something for the payments you made, a place to live (similar to paying rent; and like paying rent, making the payments does not give you any rights to the property).

4) Being present at signing the contract is irrelevant.

5) Living in a place does  not give you rights to it.

In short, nothing you have written indicates that you have any rights, but again, it would be worthwhile to double check by consulting with a real estate attorney in detail.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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