Is my father entitled to a portion of the proceeds from selling a house that is willed to me and my sister?

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Is my father entitled to a portion of the proceeds from selling a house that is willed to me and my sister?

My grandmother left her house to my father until he dies (lifetime occupancy rights) and the will says that it shall not be “encumbered” while he lives there. After he passes, my sister and I are to own the house. I don’t understand my rights to have access to the house or to the rent money that is collected. He has since built his own house and is renting my grandmother’s house to a tenant. He is collecting rent but is not keeping up with the maintenance on the house. He says that he is thinking of selling it and splitting it between the three of us. I am afraid that he will try to sell it.

Asked on February 11, 2012 under Estate Planning, West Virginia

Answers:

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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for your loss.  Your Father is a Life Tenant and you and your sisters have a remainder interest.  Your father can indeed transfer his interest to live in the house to another party - which he apparently has - but he can not sell the house as he does not own it.  A court could allow him to do so to live some where else but he already does. You may need to get some legal help here in ironing out the issues with Dad.  Good luck.


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