My Brother Could Loose His Furniture

FfoxxFebruary 8, 2012

My brother and his wife have been renting a house from my father. When he started renting it, it was unfurnished. My brother and my sister in law added furniture over the years and my nieces have also bought things for their rooms. There is also a verbal agreement on the rent and it is payed monthly by check, they do have tenets insurance, but no lease and/or contract, if something happened to my father, would the furnishings my brother and his wife, and also his kids bought end up in probate by my stepmother since there is no lease? My brother said they have tried to keep as many receipts as possible, but sometimes they get lost, they have taken photos of what they added and have wrote a list of things down. But since there is tension between my stepmother and my father's children/grandchildren, does she have the legal right to claim the house and their contents as hers if the house is willed to her?

What I'm wondering would the furnishings in my brother's rented house be considered as property of my father since there is only a verbal agreement and not a legal contract or lease? In other words would my brother and his wife loose their furniture in this verbal agreement if something happened to my father.

My stepmother is the type of resentful woman that stated that she wouldn't let my father give old family photos of my grandparents and g-grandparents to his kids and grandchildren.

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Usually, the contents of a rented house belong to the tenants unless the house was furnished to begin with. I doubt the furnishings would be included in probate as they are things the family purchased to live there. If the house is deeded to the stepmom or willed to her or owned jointly, she would end up with the house but not the contents.

It would probably be worth it to have dad put in writing that the house was unfurnished and/or enter into a written rental contract. In any case, if she wanted everyone if your dad passes before her, she would still have to go through the process of evicting them... as long as they pay their rent & she accepts it, they can stay. If she refuses the rent, she would need to proceed with an eviction process. She would also have to lie in court documents to claim that the property in the house belongs to her and she would have no proof (receipts) to prove it. You might want to consult an attorney for actual legal advice.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2012 at 2:37AM
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A rental contract is a great idea but long-term your father could also add a codicil to his will (I am hoping he has a will.) stipulating those personal possessions which either already belong to the children or should belong to the children.

So he could indicate that the rental house goes to the stepmother while the contents belong to the son. He could also will specific personal possessions (i.e. family photos) to particular biological descendants.

Of course, giving those photos now would certainly simplify things. She can say what she likes but if your father has a spine he'll pass them on while he's still around or at the very least "lend" them so copies can be made.


    Bookmark   February 9, 2012 at 2:59PM
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Good ideas reading lady. I would add that child has right to stay in rental apt for 6 months after dads death.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2012 at 11:05AM
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