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Can a deceased parent's will dictate what happens to a daughter's inherited house if the daughter had no will and no trust.

Irvine, CA |

A deceased parent left their house to 1 of 3 daughters, stipulating that if that daughter died, the house should go to a family friend and not the other sisters. The daughter passed away, but did not have a will. The family friend is not on the deed, but the long deceased parent and recently deceased daughter are. Is the family friend entitled to any part of that house?

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Attorney answers 3

Best Answer

More detail is needed but it sounds as though the parents created (or tired to create) a life estate. That is where the daugther gets to live in the house for her life but the remainder (whats "left over" of the house then goes to what are called "remaindermen" - the friend). A life estate is a valid method to pass property and it would not be controlled by the deceased life tenant's will/estate plan. Whether this is a valid life estate and was handled correctly from the beginning is another question entirely.

This is not legal advice nor intended to create an attorney-client relationship. The information provided here is informational in nature only. This attorney may not be licensed in the jurisdiction which you have a question about so the answer could be only general in nature.


Attorney Zelinger is correct.
The other possibility from your description is that the friend would get the house of the daughter died before the parent. The language of the Will is extremely important. If my theory is correct, then the home would pass to the daughter and, at her death without a Will, to her heirs by intestacy if the parent predeceased her and would pass to the friend if the daughter pre-deceased the parent.

I am sorry for your losses.

Anastatia Quirk Ellis, Esq. is licensed to practice law in Florida, Massachusetts and U.S. Tax Court, This answer is provided as general information and does not initiate an attorney-client relationship. You can reach The Law Offices of Anastatia Quirk Ellis, P.A. at 813-625-0222.


It is very likely the friend will receive the property. The will and the title should be reviewed by an attorney. Most attorneys give free consultations and can advise you specifically if you provide a copy of the will and the property address. Good luck.

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