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Do I have the right to live in my deceased parents' home?

When it comes to your parents' home, you might think that you have a natural right to live there, even after they pass away or become incapacitated. While this usually does not cause a problem, in some cases, a parent's home may pass ownership to someone else who does not wish for you to live there.

If you do find yourself in conflict with the new owner of a parent's home, whether he or she is one of your other family members or some other person who now owns the home, you must consider your next few steps carefully.

Legally, you do not have the right to live in a home simply because your parent owned the home before he or she passed away. Depending on your parent's estate planning (or lack of estate planning), the home may now legally belong to someone who does not want you to live there.

Can I contest my right to be in the home?

In broad strokes, yes. However, depending on your relationship to the new legal owner of the home, your mileage may vary, so to speak. A wise place to start is usually to consult with an experienced planning attorney who understands the intricacies of contesting wills and other estate documents in California.

If you are very lucky, you may find a way to resolve the issue without using the legal system. If, for instance, you have a sibling who received the home legally after your parent passed away, he or she may listen to reason and allow you to continue to live there.

However, it is important to understand that the nature of your relationship to the property changed when your parent passed away, and if you live in the home now, you are essentially a tenant.

As a tenant, you may face eviction for any number of legitimate reasons, so defining the terms under which you continue to live in the home is crucial. You certainly don't want to give the home's new owner a reason to evict you.

How can an attorney help me?

Estate laws in California are complicated, so it is not possible to know exactly where you stand legally without examining the details of your particular circumstances. However, a skilled attorney can represent your rights and explore way that you can plead your grounds for remaining in the home.

If you face legal action, an attorney can provide a professional legal response that keeps your priorities secure while using the strength of the law to ensure that your parent's house can remain your home if at all possible.

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