Q: My husband passed away last year and he left me the property that we lived in together. Unfortunately, my mother-in-law is on the deed.
Can she transfer her half of the property to anybody she wants without my consent? She has never lived in this property, nor invested anything in it. My husband made a will before he died and intended me to have the property. But we weren’t married when he bought it, so he put his mother on the deed with him.
The court has transferred all of the assets in the estate, but she is still on the deed.
A: My condolences on the loss of your husband.
Your husband’s will apparently stipulated that you would receive everything he owns. But in this case, it sounds as though he only owned half of the house in which you live. Since your mother-in-law owns the other half of the property, she may be able to sell her half to someone without your consent. It depends in part on how title is held to the property.
But why let it get to that? If you want to stay in the house, you should call her and work something out with her, maybe even make an offer to purchase her share of the property.
A good estate attorney can help you with other options that may be available.
Jan. 18, 2007.