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Suppose someone pays the down payment for their elderly parents and then the parents (after some number of years) pass away and have been paying into expenses and mortgage.

If the parents are considered as shared owners of the property, how might that affect what they leave to their children in their will?

What happens if they are not shared owners, but just living in the house a child owns and allows them to stay in (and I guess pay rent for)?

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If the parents own the house (as shown on the official deed) it will go as they leave it in their wills, or as the local law for intestate inheritance (no will) directs. Who paid all or part of the down payment will not matter. If the intent was for that to matter, then the child who provided the down payment should have been listed as partial owner, or some written agreement should have been made specifying the rights involved. Otherwise the down payment would be considered as a gift.

If the child owns the house (as shown on the deed) it would not be part of the parents' estate, and their will(s) would not affect it. It would remain the property of the child.

If the down payment was a loan rather than a gift, as shown by a written agreement of some sort, then that debt would be an obligation of the estate, to be paid before any legacies were distributed.

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