It is very unlikely that you will be able to enforce the agreement, if the named beneficiaries in the will do not want to sell it to you. Generally, the statute of frauds says that a contract to convey property must be in writing. Talk to a local attorney to see if you have any options.
If he does not have a will, and you are not a descendant of his, then you will not get the home. You will have to wait until the property is conveyed either through probate or by intestacy. After that, you can explain the situation to family members who will most likely be glad to have a ready and willing buyer. Without something in writing from the deceased, you will have no claim on the property that is readily enforceable. Even a memorandum that indicates the desire to sell you the home would work. Hopefully, Gene mentioned to his family, too, that he wanted you to have the home - and, that his wishes matter to them. If not, you should seek the advice of a good local real estate attorney.
Carol Johnson Law Firm, P.A. : (727) 647-6645 : firstname.lastname@example.org : Wills, Trusts, Real Property, Probate, Special Needs: Information provided here is anecdotal and should not be relied upon or considered legal advice. Every matter is different and answers given here are general in nature and may not reflect current Florida law at the time you are reading this posting. Please contact me if you feel you need additional assistance with your matter.
I agree with Attorney Johnson. I would add that you probably qualify as an interest person who can open the probate estate - this would give you the ability to make mortgage payments. In addition, you should try to contact Gene's family to work out an arrangement that will let you stay in the house. An experienced lawyer in your area can help you with this.
Disclaimer: This answer is provided for informational purposes only, does not constitute legal advice, and does not create an attorney-client relationship. Actual legal advice can only be provided after completing a comprehensive consultation in which all of the relevant facts are discussed and reviewed.
These responses are all quite correct in my opinion. Is the house located in Lakeland/Polk County? Do you know any of the heirs of the decedent? You may (and I stress "may") have some sort of equitable claim for the mortgage and tax payments - if your occupancy, or co-occupancy of the property isn't considered similar to a rental situation. Others are correct, that the sale or transfer of property is not enforceable in the state of Florida, unless in writing, signed by the party against who (whom?) tou would be seeking to enforce the agreement - so without some cooperation from the heirs, you likely would not have a very good case. As someone else mentioned, you could file what is called a "caveat" in probate court, which would give you notice of any subsequent probate proceeding - based upon your past payments and as a potential claimant/creditor of the decedent's estate. If you e-mail me the name of the property owner and address of the property, I would do some preliminary checking. My email is: email@example.com