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â€œHere is my question for DearEsq.’s Ask the Lawyer: Property in the State of Missouri was deeded to sons one year before father’s remarriage using a general warranty deed but now the widow wants the property. Can she do this? She owns two other homes from other marriages and one from the marriage to the sons’ father so she does not need these properties to live. The deeds were properly recorded with the recorder of deeds in the correct county and the sons have been paying the property taxes for the last three years on these properties. Their father passed away in 2010.â€
Assuming the deed to the sons is in proper legal order, if it was done well before the marriage I’m not aware of any law that would give the new wife any rights to this property. There might be a specific law in Missouri that I’m not aware of, but the most likely argument would be that there was some sort of defect in the deed, meaning that the father still had some interest in the property when he died (which interest most likely passes to his wife under his will, or under the applicable intestacy laws). Rather than guess, this is a situation where I would put the ball squarely in the other side’s court. Either ask her (or her attorney) point blank what legal grounds she thinks she has to get this property (and address that appropriately), or else just do nothing and wait for her to take legal action, and deal with it then.