If your mum or dad has died

This is such a difficult thing to deal with no matter how old you are. The stress of worrying about the roof over your head won't be helping either. This page gives you an idea of your rights if one, or both, of your parents has died.

About your rights

If one of your parents has just died and you are still living with the other one, you might be able to keep living in your home if your mum or dad rents, owns or has inherited the house.

If one, or both, of your parents have died without leaving a Will, you might be able to argue that you are entitled to get some of their possessions or a share of any money or savings they had. However, it's unlikely that you'll be able to get a share of the house because of the way the law works.

If you have any brothers or sisters, it's important to remember that they may also be affected. If you find yourself in this situation, you must speak to a solicitor who will be able to give you more detailed legal advice.

I'm under 16 - what are my rights?

If you are under the age of 16, your parents have to look after you and make sure you have somewhere to stay. If one of your parents is still alive and you live with them, you should be okay.

You might have to move out of the house you live in now if the parent who is still around hasn't got any right to keep living there. When someone dies, there are lots of things to sort out and it can take quite a long time. But don't worry, if you do have to move somewhere else, it's unlikely that you'll have to do so straight away. If the house has to be sold, it could take a bit of time to sort out all the legal paperwork. You solicitor will be able to give you a more precise indication of how long it's likely to take.

Do I have the same rights if I'm over 16?

If you are over 16, you will only be able to stay in the house if your parent agrees that you can.

If you are over 16 and your parent wants you to leave the house, you will probably have to go. If you are in this situation, don't panic! Look at our advice for young people section, where you can find all sorts of information.

What if both my parents have died?

No matter how old you are, your parents might have left the house to you in a will.

If the person who died left a Will saying that the house should go to someone else, this obviously causes a problem for you and you will probably have to move out.

If there's no Will (this is called 'intestacy'), the situation is a lot more complicated. It is unlikely you will be able to argue that you have a right to the house and you should speak to a solicitor about this as soon as possible.

If both your parents have died and you're not old enough to live on your own without them, you need to get help as soon as possible. If you are under 18 and you are worried about anything at all, you can contact ChildLine. You can phone them on 0800 1111 to speak to a friendly person or visit their website if you don't feel up to talking to anyone. It's free to phone ChildLine. If you don't get through first time, don't give up, just keep trying.

Speak to a Shelter Scotland adviser

Call Shelter Scotland's free housing advice helpline

0808 800 4444
9am-5pm, Monday to Friday

Email an adviser

You can also email a housing adviser. We aim to respond within three working days.

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