‘We’re concerned this woman may persuade him to leave his house to her’: My father, 85, moved in with a female friend. Can I declare his home abandoned?

March 25, 2022

Your father’s home belongs to him and him alone, and he is under no obligation to put the house in your sister’s name. Nor is he obliged to stay there by himself if he finds companionship elsewhere. This may be his last chance to have a romantic relationship with another woman, and it could bring him peace and happiness in the last years of his life.

Making moves to declare his house abandoned after two weeks because you fear he will leave it to his friend is overstepping your responsibilities as his daughter, and misunderstands the legal process. What’s more, he has not relinquished all rights to the control of this property. It’s his home, and he is under no obligation to spend all of his time there.

“In New York, for example, the abandonment law would apply to one- to four-family residential real properties that are subject to a mortgage,” says Neil V. Carbone, trusts and estates partner at Farrell Fritz PC. “After the homeowner falls 90 days behind on the mortgage payments, the mortgagee can take steps to have the property deemed abandoned.”

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  • Related Practice Areas: Estate Litigation, Trusts & Estates
  • Featured Attorneys: Neil V. Carbone
  • Publications: MarketWatch