Anonymous asked in Business & FinanceRenting & Real Estate · 1 month ago

What happens when my cousins try to sell a house my uncle transferred to me for $1 back in 2008?

Apparently back in 2008 my Uncle transferred his house to me for $1.  An envelope with my name on it was found in his safe deposit box.  The envelope contained 2 pages.  The first page was titled "warranty deed" and the second was a deed transfer form showing that his house was transferred to me for $1.  It said something about pursuant to a life estate.  I know my uncle qualified for a homestead exemption, so for the last 20 years he paid very little property tax.  

Today I noticed the house has been listed with a real estate company.  My cousins said they are forced to sell the house to pay my uncle's medical expenses.  They say what I have is not legal and they have full legal right to sell the house on my uncle's behalf.  My dad took the paper to go talk to a lawyer, but I haven't heard anything.  It appears the papers have been signed, witnessed, notarized.  The page appeared to be a several part form which I was told was the form used to transfer your property to another person.  The warranty deed was necessary to warranty that the property was yours to transfer.  

What happens when they try to sell the house assuming that the papers are legal and have been properly filed with the county office? 

9 Answers

  • 1 month ago

    The very last thing you say is, what happens if this is all legal "and has been filed at the county courthouse".  The obvious question is, has it been filed at the county courthouse.  Apparently not or your cousins wouldn't be trying to sell it.  

    You need to check the tax records to see if, in fact, you are the owner of the property (but with the life estate) and if you are not, then go file the deed right now.  I get that there is a deed transfer form but I'm not convinced the transfer happened or possibly wasn't somehow reversed later on.

    If you don't have the deed and it was never filed, then you'd better get a copy of it (or better yet, the original). If you can't get a copy and your cousins destroy it (or already have), with it never having been filed then you can't even prove it ever existed and then nothing happens - the house still belongs to your uncle and the cousins (apparently overseeing the estate) can sell the house.

    If the deed is, or gets, filed with the courthouse before the sale, this creates a cloud on the title and effectively prevents it from being sold.  

    Essentially, there is no way a new buyer would touch it.  They might get a new buyer, but once that new buyer finds out they are not the owners, they'll cancel the contract and look for a house that they can actually buy.

    So, get this deed filed with the courthouse, if you can.  Then I'd call the agent who is listing the house and explain to them that you are the homeowner, per the tax records, you don't want the house sold and to remove their sign or you'll toss it in the dumpster.  Explain to your cousins that you are listed as the owner and as the owner they can't sell the house, that even if they found a buyer the buyer wouldn't be able to follow thru on the purchase once they found out that you own the place.

  • 1 month ago

    You need an attorney. If the papers were filed and signed correctly, the house is not someone else's to sell. It's that simple. They can't sell a house they don't own or that your UNCLE did not own. Apparently, he was paying the taxes on it and you had no idea it was yours. GET A LAWYER.  If you want the house, you'll have to have HIM deal with this. There isn't anything you personally can do.  Except one thing:  Call that real estate company and let them know the ownership of the house is under dispute--and that it can't be listed for sale until that issue has been resolved. Do that FIRST, then call a lawyer. 

  • 1 month ago

    You need to consult a lawyer asap.  There's a chance that they can prove that your uncle attempted to avoid paying his medical bills and the transfer to you could be seen as fraud.  However, if his illness is more recent, they may have a hard time proving fraud.  In all likelihood, the house could end up being yours but it will be an expensive lawsuit and it is by no means an open and shut case.  Even those aren't sure wins.  I hope you have a bundle of savings.  The first thing the lawyer will probably do is prevent the house from being sold.  Then, the case will go to court.  It could be 2 to 4 years before there's a resolution.

    Source(s): Certified Paralegal, with 25+ years' experience.
  • 1 month ago

    Theoretically (this is not guaranteed), when the buyer's attorney or title insurance company checks with the county office, they will find out about the papers and won't pay for the house -- because they'll know that you'll own it even if they pay for it.

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  • G R
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    You need to meet with an Attorney and make sure the documents are valid.

  • 1 month ago

    If the deed was recorded, nothing happens, they cannot sell a house you own.

  • 1 month ago

    again, you need to confirm it was transferred, i don't see how it could be done unless you signed something back in 2008.

    if it was someone transferred without your knowledge, nothing will happen because cousins can't sell what you  own.

    and medicaid won't take it since it was more than 5 years ago.

    i assume he paid whatever property tax since 2008, so there wouldn't be a foreclosure based on taxes.

    if you are on the west coast, the property tax office may still be open...CALL THEM and find out who is the legal owner, otherwise, you need to wait until Monday since you failed to do that earlier today.

    some records are available online...try to look it up.

    try 'who owns (your address) and see what comes up.

    online records aren't always up to date, and 3rd party pages aren't official

  • 1 month ago

    You need to act quickly on this. If this was a legitimate transfer in 2008, giving you the property and giving a life estate to your uncle (meaning the house is yours but he gets to live in it as long as he desires, and must continue to pay taxes and upkeep), then the state Medicaid office has NO claim to it and your cousins have NO right to sell it.

    If it is legitimate, that deed transfer should be recorded with the county. That is the first place to look. If it was never recorded - which sometimes happens - then the document you possess carries much less weight and your fight to gain possession gets a lot more difficult.

    But you need legal help immediately. An illegitimate sale CAN be undone by court order, but it will get messy and expensive. Get your ownership question settled ASAP, before the house gets sold.

  • Anonymous
    1 month ago

    Your paper is meaningless as he has medical expenses.

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