I’m Trying to Sell My House and Now My Mother Claims She is Half Owner. What Can I do?

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“My mother who is in questionable state of Alzheimer’s Disease but not diagnosed talked my niece into coming to my hospital room right after my first surgery for terminal cancer, it was a hip replacement, and with them they brought a change of deed of my house from my sole ownership to include my mother as half owner. I don’t remember even signing this piece of paper but was informed after the fact by our mutual attorney who told me unless it was filed it was not legal. In fact I had to write him a letter stating I did not agree to this and did not want it to be filed or legal.

[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.]

Now out of the blue I have just put my house on the market and an attorney for my mother has called my real estate agent and notified me by e-mail that she is my mother’s attorney and that my mother was assigned half the house on that day and that she is not in agreement to sell my house and indeed owns half.

Were do I stand on this? I was COMPLETELY out of any kind of stable thinking on the amount of drugs I was given for pain and sedation, so much so in fact that I became violent and they had to put a guard in my hosptial room days after this paper was even signed.”

Well, first off, sorry that you’re even in this situation.

Your mother has created what attorneys call a “cloud on title.” That is, she has a document which looks like it affects the ownership of the property, but is not necessarily valid. The legal action to clear a cloud on title is called a Quiet Title action, and yes that means you’re looking at suing your mother (and anyone else who has a claim on this property). You’ll be attempting to prove that this deed is invalid, and your mother will be attempting to prove that it is valid.

For obvious reasons, your mutual attorney with your mother cannot represent you in this suit.

At the risk of being morbid, you should also immediately consult with an estate planning attorney (if you haven’t done so already), and make sure that your executor is someone who is willing and able to continue this lawsuit if you can’t.

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Author: House Attorney

A house attorney has answered this question.

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