What to do if my mother put my brother’s name on her home but she has since changed her mind and wants to add my name, however my brother refuses to sign?

She put his name on the home after my father died. Can she put her half of the home in trust to me without my brother knowing about it?

Asked on February 23, 2013 under Estate Planning, California


Catherine Blackburn / Blackburn Law Firm

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

Please consider that I do not practice law in California.  Moreover, in my opinion, your mother needs to consult a lawyer about this now.  It promises to get very complicated very quickly and a lawyer can assist.

Your mother has several options.  First, if your brother did not pay anything or give anything of value to be a joint owner on the deed, she may be able to force his name off the deed - whether he agrees or not.  In Florida, this would likely take the form on an action for "reformation" of the deed - in other words, to rewrite the deed without your brother's name.  If he did not pay or give anything to become an owner of the property, then there is no enforceable contract to be an owner.  The question would remain whether your mother intended to give him a gift of the property and that can be complicated.

Your mother may not own "half" of the property.  If she put your brother's name on the deed as a joint owner "with the right of survivorship," then your brother will own the home in his name when your mother dies, no matter what your mother's will or trust says.

Your mother needs legal help to sort this out.  She should see a lawyer right away and definitely should not try to resolve this without the advice of counsel.

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