Q: I have been living with my girlfriend in her condo for the past 15 years. She has stated in her living trust and will that I can continue to live in the condo after she dies, and then it would belong to her son. Now she has changed her mind because her son wants me out as soon as she passes away. Can she do that, and would I have to leave my home?
A: Yes. The dispositions in wills and living trusts can be changed at any time up until the person passes away. Living trusts, which are documents often used to supplement wills and minimize the probate process, are revocable, meaning that their contents can change on a whim. The same goes for wills themselves.
This is different from a contract in which the promises contained become immediately binding. However, when the maker of a will or living trust passes away, the promises become binding for the person inheriting the descendant's property.
Because your girlfriend owns the home and is leaving it to her son when she passes, he will become the new owner and can evict you – unless you have a binding contract, such as a long-term lease, that would allow you to stay.
If your girlfriend changes her mind again, and wants to leave the property to her son while still allowing you to stay there, there are several good ways to accomplish this. You both should see an attorney specializing in wills and trusts.
ABOUT THE WRITER
Gary M. Singer is a Florida attorney and board-certified as an expert in real estate law by the Florida Bar. He practices real estate, business litigation and contract law from his office in Sunrise, Fla. He is the chairman of the Real Estate Section of the Broward County Bar Association and is a co-host of the weekly radio show Legal News and Review. He frequently consults on general real estate matters and trends in Florida with various companies across the nation. Send him questions online at www.sunsentinel.com/askpro or follow him on Twitter @GarySingerLaw.