Areas of Law / Property

Two years ago my aunt gave her house to her stepson, who lived with her. However he died recently, and his next of kin are now claiming the property. She is worried that she could be thrown out of her home. What is her position?

Your aunt may well be able to establish a right to continue living in the house, so she shouldn’t just move out, but she needs detailed advice urgently. However unless the stepson made a will the property will now belong to his relatives. Your aunt should see the solicitor who drew up the deed of gift: it’s possible this eventuality could have been anticipated, in which case she would have a claim for negligence. Your aunt could, for instance, have simply left the property to the stepson in her will, or they could have shared the ownership of the house.

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