Some older Americans do not remarry in later life, yet many choose to share their homes with a partner. In Kentucky, what recourse do children have if a parent wants to let their partner live in their home after they die?

The good

If your parent’s will leaves you the property upon their death, it is up to you to honor your parent’s wishes. You are under no legal obligation to do so if the property is now in your name. Your parent’s verbal promises to their partner are not legally binding if the property is left directly to you without any other stipulations.

The bad

In one scenario, your parent received great counsel from an estate planning professional and set up the proper estate plan that provides for their partner while ultimately leaving you the property upon their partner’s death. Their estate plan will usually have provisions that require their partner to maintain the property and other rules, such as no other person may occupy the home.

An estate plan that has been executed correctly in this manner will allow your parent’s partner to remain in the home until their death as long as they fulfill any requirements set down in the estate plan. Should your parent’s partner fail to meet the provisions of the estate plan, you do have legal recourse to have them removed from the property.

The ugly

In the worst-case scenario, your parent did not see an estate planning professional and willed the property to their partner. In this instance, you have no recourse and will need to rely on the goodwill of your parent’s partner to leave you the property when they die. If they choose to leave the property to someone else, you have been effectively disinherited.

Keep in mind that you may have to interact with your parent’s partner for many years after your parent dies. It is always in everyone’s best interest to remain cordial in relationships with all parties. If disputes or questions arise, you may want to reach out to an estate planning attorney.