Buying or Selling a Home/quit claim deed
QUESTION: my mom was coerced into signing a quick claim deed on her property by her brother, what is the correct and legal way to file a quick claim deed? and if no moneis changed hands is it even legal? they (uncle and his wife) are both named on this quick claim deed and they claim to own 2/3rds of said property even though they haven't invested a dime. they are forcing my mom who wants to move to stay and pay the mortgage and they claim she cannot put the property on the market because of this fraudulent document. what are our options?
ANSWER: Any document that is signed via coercion, Tim, is not a legal document. Period. And if it was not signed before a notary public (and I assume that be the case) whatever your mother signed is not a legal document either. Period.
No, it doesn't matter if money changed hands during the course of the signing of a quit claim deed. In fact, I can give you a quit claim deed to the Brooklyn Bridge, if you would like. Or how would you like a quit claim deed to the Empire State Building? Perfectly legal.
A quit claim deed is a document designed to transfer whatever interest (how much interest do I have in the Empire State Building?) the conveyor has to a party or parties. It does not guarantee anything. In fact, a title company will not insure the title to the property deeded over via a quit claim deed.
Further, if your mom wants to sell the property and she is the sole name on the deed, she may do so if she so chooses. The uncle and aunt have no claim and can't stop her. So, as far as I can see, Tim, your mom has nothing to be concerned about. I do wish you well.
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QUESTION: The quit claim deed that my my mom signed was notarized "after it was signed" and filed with the county clerk & recorder. So the notary who notarized the deed, did not do so in the presence of watching my mom sign the document. But since it is filed with the county, won't it show up as a seemingly "valid" quit claim deed? We were told if my mom tries to sell the property, that because of the quit claim deed, her brother would need to be present when signing at closing and he would have to sign as well. According to my moms mortgage statements, and the county assessors tax statement, her name is the only name listed.
A notary public can get into big trouble with the events you are reciting here, Tim. First, a notary must keep a journal of the documents he/she had signed in front of him/her. The notary can go to jail and or fined big-time if it is not up to snuff.
In that journal, the notary must have the person who signed the document sign her name in the journal, too, along with the date. The date should also be the same in both cases. If your mother's signature is not in that log, then that notary has big problems.
If it turns out that your mother's signature is in that logbook, then she is going to have to hire a real good attorney to take it to court to prove that she did not sign that quit claim deed legally. I recommend that your mother get a good real estate attorney in this matter in any case.
However, it is possible that your uncle may have signed your mother's signature and then attested to the notary that he witnessed her signing the quit claim deed. Then the notary would have to have your uncle's signature of attesting on that particular date. So, it is possible that your mother did not sign that quit claim deed and the notary will not be in trouble. But the title company that transfers title to the buyer would probably not accept his signature and any sale would not be valid if the buyer wants title insurance.
Yes, it's going to cost her, but she has no alternative if she wants to protect her interests. If she wins her case, her attorney fees will have to be paid by her brother. If she doesn't win, it will show that perhaps she wasn't telling you the truth in this whole matter. The key will be her signature in the notary's logbook. If it turns out to be a fraud, the notary and your mother's brother are in for big legal problems.
One other thing, Tim, and that is if your mother is incompetent, that means if she is deemed to be medically incompetent to sign any documents (dementia for example), then any document she signed is therefore not valid. Period. Her estate, managed by an executor or executrix, would be managed by that person and that person would do the signing of all documents. The real estate attorney will explain.
If this matter gets to this point, Tim, the matter is more complex than you may have expected. Now you can see why you would need a good real estate attorney. I do wish you well.