If My Grandmother Signed a Quit Deed to Sign her Property Over to Me, is it Officially Mine?

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“In Minnesota…my grandmother’s home was condemned. She was placed into a behavioral health hospital. I was told she could not sign paperwork to make me her power of attorney because she was being held for her mental state. She passed three mental evaluations and is now being held in an assisted living facility; although the court has not ruled her to be mentally competent yet. The land she was living on was hers. For fear the state would take it, a lawyer wrote a quit deed and she signed the property over to me. Is the property officially mine? If there is a no trespassing order, do I have to stay off of my own property? Can I remove her personal belongings (with her permission)?”

[NOTE: Articles and answers on DearEsq., while written and published by lawyers, do not constitute legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship is formed by your reading of this information. You should always consult with an attorney for any legal situations.]

I’m kind of confused regarding what happened here, so let me say up front that you really need to consult with an attorney who better understands the details (perhaps the one who prepared the deed for you). It sounds like your grandmother was determined to be legally incompetent when she was placed in the mental health hospital, and that she has yet to be declared competent since she left.  This is a key point, and if this fact is different from what I’m assuming, then everything else changes.

In most cases, legal competence is an all or nothing thing.  If you’re legally incompetent, you can’t take any legal actions on your own behalf.  That would explain why your grandmother couldn’t execute a power of attorney (since that in itself is a legal action), but then later she executed a deed, which should also be impossible (or at least not effective).

That brings me to your specific questions.  Is the land yours?  Well, that depends on the effectiveness of the deed your grandmother executed.  If she was competent to execute a deed (and assuming the deed was properly done), then yes.  But I’m not at all sure whether that is the case.

Can you enter the land?  I don’t understand how or why there is a no trespassing order, so I can’t answer that.  Normally, such an order is made by a court on behalf of the land owner.  Since the only land owners I know of are you and your grandmother, it’s not clear how or why such an order came about.  Certainly, if there is an order from a court, you would do well to obey it, at least until you can have it corrected.

Can you get your grandmother’s stuff with her permission?  Assuming you can get on the land in the first place, yes.  Once you’ve resolved the trespassing issue, the only remaining issue would be whether taking her personal property would be theft.  If you have her permission, then it would not be.

Again, this is a complicated situation, which requires legal advice from a person more familiar with the details than I can be, before you take action.  I hope, however, that I helped at least to frame the questions for you.

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Author: House Attorney

A house attorney has answered this question.