Legal Question in Real Estate Law in Mississippi

Tenants in Common, One Dies

My boyfriend and I purchased a home together in Mississippi two years ago as tenants in common. He had a daughter from a previous marriage (she was 18 when we got together, is now 23, and has never lived with us.) He and I have one daughter together who is now 4 years old. He passed away last month. I realize that since we were tenants in common, I only own half the property, and the other half is legally the property of his 2 heirs. However, his 23-year-old daughter, who still lives with her own mother, says that since she owns part of the property she is going to move in. The house is small - two bedrooms, one currently mine and the other my 4-year-old daughter's. This 23-year-old girl and I barely know each other and I do not want her to move in. I don't have room for her and it's not fair for my daughter to have to move into my bedroom. Also, I don't know what kind of lifestlye she leads, and I don't want just anyone around my young daughter. So my question is, can she legally move in with us without my permission? Thanks for your help.

Asked on 9/16/08, 4:14 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Albert Pettigrew Law Offices Ph 228-875-8736

Re: Tenants in Common, One Dies

She probably has not yet established proof that she has an undivided 1/4th interest in the property. With an undivided interest, she has the right to use whatever part of the property she wants, the same for you. If you cannot agree on who uses which part, the law provides for the court to sell the property, and you can keep 3/4ths for your daughter and yourself after expenses.

If it is sold, where will you live and how much will it cost? With the housing market in the dumps right now, maybe it would probably be in everybody's interest to avoid a sale to a third party. So, consider politely refusing to allow her to move in because of your needs, reminding her of of the need for her contribution towards any mortgage, and offering to buy or lease her claim for 1/4th interest. If she has the means and desire to take the matter further, she will have to pursue an action in court to establish her right to 1/4th interest and for sale of the property.

If there is no mortgage involved, consider conveying your interest to a separate legal entity, and causing the property to be sold at at tax sale and buying the property at the tax sale so you then own 100% of the property after two years. Additionally, your decision should take into account tax consequences, legal expenses, and risks of loss incident to transfer of your property to a third party.

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Answered on 9/18/08, 8:07 am

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