Home Ownership and Wills

Home Ownership and Wills

House and Power of Attorney: My sister has power of attorney over my mom due to my mother's mental illness. My sister just recently convinced my mom to purchase a house and put both of their names on it . Will my sister own the house 100% even if my mom has a will stating we are to split everything 50/50?


What happens to the house depends on how the deed is titled. If the house is owned "Sister and Mother as tenants in common" on mom's death 1/2 of the house would pass to mom's estate and be divided. If the house is owned "Sister and Mother as joint tenants with rights of survivorship" on mom's death sister get's all, nothing is controlled by the will. There are lots of variations but the only way to know is to see the actual deed. If the deed is with your sister and mother as joint tenants with rights of survivorship, even if the will leaves you everything, you get zip.

There is another potentially serious issue in the question you pose. If your sister is your mother's agent she is acting in a fiduciary capacity. If your sister put a house 1/2 in her name using her agency capacity to do so, this might be a violation of the power of attorney unless it permits gift transfers, etc. If your sister "convinced" your mom to buy an asset she did not want, and structured the ownership of that asset to benefit herself (i.e., your sister) that could be a violation of her fiduciary duties.

You should consider meeting with your sister and an impartial attorney to try to square away any issues rather than wait for potentially a worse problem.

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