How can I establish ownership of an annex to my father’s house?

UPDATED: Sep 8, 2011

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How can I establish ownership of an annex to my father’s house?

My father allowed me to to extend a portion of his house and gave me permission to live there with my soon-to-be husband as a sort of wedding gift. I am afraid that if he is deceased, the next of kin (maybe his wife, who is not my mother, or my brother) may decide that I cannot live there any more. I would like to protect my investment since I paid for the addition. Should I draft up an agreement or just ask my dad to include it in his Will? Or should I do both?

Asked on September 8, 2011 under Estate Planning, Maryland


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You need to see an attorney as soon as you can here, not just about the issue of leaving it to you, but really the issue deals with real property.  The annex, as you call it, is still part and parcel of the main house, correct?  It is not a separate parcel that can be cut off and live on its own, so to speak.  So the best I think that can happen is that your Father allows you to live there for the remainder of your life (a life estate) and then once you pass away the house is transferred to the beneficiaries.  DO NOT draft anything yourself here.  It is too risky that some one will try and contest the document indicating you unduly influenced your Dad.  Instead have your Dad speak with an attorney and you do as well.  Good luck.

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