How to Deal with Issues Concerning Missing Property Documents and Estate Planning

Note: The DearEsq free 'ask a lawyer' site is offered as a free informational service to the public and is not intended as legal advice. Laws vary from state-to-state, and in addition every situation is unique, and relevant facts may not be known. The answer to the question posed below may not apply to in your state or to your situation. For legal advice in your state and your situation you should consult with an attorney in your state who is familiar with the rules and laws in your state.

“In 1965 my parents gave my sister an acre of land from the family farm. In 1977 they made an notarized land agreement with my sister stating that this land was never to be considered a part of their estate in the event of their death nor could anyone take it from her plus the description of the land and location. My dad died 30 yrs ago and my mother died Nov 2005. Prior to the death of my mother, she hired an attorney to handle the family farm, dividing it among my brothers but she made sure my sister was to get hers by having my brother sign papers prior to her signing for his land. My mother gave my sister another four acres to go with the one acre. My mother would not sign until the paper were drawn up. The day of the signing my mother thought the lawyer had my brother sign. She did not know this until my mother was going out the door and he tells my brother he needs to come back and sign those papers. The lawyer contacted my brother to come in and sign, he did not. My mother went to another attorney to go after my brother for my sister’s land. She informed the new lawyer that the lawyer she had was not representing her but my brother. My mother died before she could finish. My brother is building on the land that has been my sister’s for 40 years. It has a well, electric, septic and driveway. I went to courthouse for a copy of the deed. There are page nos. missing in the deed and they can’t find them. I think they are the ones my brother did not sign at the lawyers office giving my sister her land. The lawyer and his secretary know of this. How do I stop my brother from taking my sister’s land and what can I do about the attorney who failed to do as my mother asked? What does it mean when they tell me at the courthouse there are these pages they cannot find? Does the lawyer hold the papers and how do we get my brother to sign as agreed?”Unfortunately, the short answer to your questions is, you sue.

Question: Obviously, it would be better for all parties concerned if they could agree and draft/sign whatever paperwork is necessary to bring that agreement into effect. Failing that, a court would have to make a decision.This includes your question about the missing pages at the court: There are legal proceedings-not the typical adversary proceeding, but an evidentiary process-for dealing with lost, destroyed, or otherwise unavailable property records.
For all of the above, you’ll have to consult with a local attorney who can advise you regarding the specifics of your situation.