My Stepfather Says I Owe Him for Half the Costs of the Property My Mom Left Us. What Are My Rights?
A viewer is told by her stepfather she owes half of the costs on the property left to them by her deceased mother. What are her legal rights if she decided to either keep the property or let it go?
Dave Kuharchik: We have a property question in this edition of “The Law & You.” Back with us tonight are attorneys Greg Fellerman and Ed Ciarimboli here in the virtual law center. Gentlemen, thanks for being here.
Ed Ciarimboli: Thank you for having us and we will try our best on this property question.
Dave: All right, and it’s a question that involves part of a property so the term a half is used a lot here from Nicole in Dallas. Nicole says, “My mom passed away in 2009. Recently, I found out that I own half of a property that she and my stepfather own in Texas. He is now telling me that I owe my half of the costs for the property if I want to maintain my half of the property. What are my rights legally if I wish to keep it or give it up?” So I guess first is does Nicole owe back expenses on this property?
Ed: Well if you want to keep it, yes. If you don’t want to keep it, then you don’t have to. You can give up your rights to that particular piece of property or that inheritance. Just because somebody giving you something in a will or inheritance doesn’t necessarily mean you have to take it. Especially if the property is encumbered by death. So, if you want to keep it, you are going to have to pay the back taxes and you’re going to have to be responsible moving forward for half of it.
Greg Fellerman: I think this is an example of where people don’t take the time to plan. I know we harp on this all the time, it’s like how we talk about full tort-limited tort. But in this area of the law, this is where people if they just took the time to discuss their intentions with the people they want to give the gifts to, they might find out they don’t want them or they can’t afford them. And it becomes an issue when the person passes away because now, all of a sudden, they’re in a situation where they’re getting a property they might not want it, they want to disavow it, they don’t want the responsibilities. Again, it all comes down to good planning taking the time, sitting down with a competent lawyer who can help you prepare so that they don’t have these types of problems for your family.
Ed: And especially in this particular situation, not only sit down with the lawyer but sit down with all the family members and just have some planning so that people understand that “Hey, you’re going to be getting this piece of property. Is this something you want, something you don’t want?” So that you can avoid some of these situations.
Dave: All right, good advice. And if you want more, you can give the guys a call, check them out online. And don’t forget, results matter with Attorneys Greg Fellerman and Ed Ciarimboli. Thanks, guys.
Greg: Thank you.
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