What to do a When a Party goes Against Verbal Agreements Made Concerning Property

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“I split up with my husband. We had our house on the market for 369,000.00. We made an agreement with my daughter and her husband, that we would sell them the house at a lower price then to a stranger and my husband would get approx 83,000.00 and I would waive my share of the sale of the house to my daughter. It was agreed that I would lay out the money to make the basement an apartment for myself and live their rent free.They would compensate me for that money the following August when they would re-finance the house at a fixed rate.We discussed this with the real estate attorney and agreed on what the document at closing would say. That was Aug 2005. I layed out the money for the apartment, my partner did all of the work without charging for any labor My daughter then said I could live there rent free, but my partner would have to pay 500.00 a month rent. On New Years Eve, my daughter and I had an argment regarding my partner. She stated he would have to get in 2 days. She then stated that I would have to leave within 2 weeks, or she will have me escorted off the property. I can’t tell you how shocked I was. By midnite she apoligized to me, but the damage had be done. I faxed the real estate attorney for the copy of the life estate document. He faxed me back and said although he and his wife (she’s his assistant) recall discussing the agreement and deciding how it was to read, he never proceeded with it. In January, my daughter put the house up for sale. She was looking at houses 65 miles away. I knew that after the argument on New Years, that I could not trust my daughter and her husband and I would have to find aomewhere to live. I emailed my daughter many times and asked what money amount they planned to give me from the sale of the house. They still owed me for the money I spent on the basement apartment. Her response was I wasn’t getting any money, They seriously were interested in buying this brand new house 65 miles away. I would have to commute on mountain roads to my job, and i could not make that move. So,,,,,they found a house, and they found buyers for the existing house that was not so long ago mine. I had to find somewhere to live. I borrowed 18000.00 from friends and family, and bought a 1974 mobile home in a mobile home park, that I pay 400.00 a month rent to. My daughter and her family have settled nicely in their brand new beautiful home. I have chosen not to speak too often to my daughter, and I have refused any invitiations to go see her new house. She has been here once, so she knows the way I’m now living. When she asks how I am, I respond, not too good, how do you think i am,,,,living in these conditions, then she says she doesn’t want to talk about it. My family and friends have been extremely supportive and without them I would not of made it this far. So you see,,,,I am not sure if I can do anything about all this or not. I don’t have extra money right now,,,,just barly getting by with what I make at my job. I thouh maybe someone could give me some general advise.”

[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.]

Most agreements regarding real estate need to be in writing to satisfy the Statute of Frauds. This may include the Life Estate or an agrement to reimburse you for the value of the improvements. It also seems that you may have expressly waived your interest in the property in favor of your daughter. I do not know exactly how to get this out of the “gift” box, though an attorney experienced in estate planning, real estate or elder law may be able to give you a different answer.

The closing documents will be telling. Normally it is difficult or impossible to bring in evidence of verbal discussions before the contract was drafted that are inconsistent with or vary the written terms of the contract. If there was actual wrongdoing on the part of the attorney in the form of the beach of a fiduciary duty or professional negligence, you may have an action against him for legal malpractice.



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Author: House Attorney

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