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.
“My father purchased land in California in 1977, he had my mother’s name added to title also. He told my siblings and myself in 1980 that the land was our inheritance and that my mother should receive “something” also. My mother deeded the property to me a few years ago and now, she wants to take it back and sell it for her own purposes. The last few years she paid the property taxes to contribute to the upkeep of the land. If the land is in my name, in California, am I the sole owner of this property? Thank you!!!”In the law, there’s a concept known as a “presumption,” which means that you assume something is true at first, but that you’re open to seeing evidence that makes you change your mind.
Question: There is a presumption that whoever is named on the most recent, valid deed is the owner of the property. But that doesn’t mean that there couldn’t be some evidence contrary to that. Just as an example, sometimes people will deed over a property, not with the intention of selling it but rather as security for a loan, and with the intention of it being deeded back when the loan is repaid.Also, if your mother hasn’t gotten any benefit from the property (such as living there), you probably at the very least owe her for the taxes she’s paid.
So the short answer is that you’ll need to have an attorney review all the relevant paperwork to figure out what, if any, claims your mother and siblings may have against this property that’s in your name. At a minimum, this would include the deed that put your mother on the property, any estate planning documents (will and/or trust) that your father had, the deed from your mother to you, and any side deals you had.
That, of course, is the legal answer: what will happen within your family if you go against mom & dad’s wishes is beyond my ability to predict.