Are documents pertaining to the ownership of a property public records? And if so how can I obtain these documents?

I am co-owner of a small apartment
building with my father. The day we
signed all the paperwork such as the
mortgage and whatnot, my wife signed
something at the recommendation of my
father. We don’t know what it was. A few
months later I signed some other things
at the recommendation of my father,
again, not really knowing what it was. I
know my name is still on the mortgage as
I was paying it for a while. Fast
forward to today, things are not going
so great with the co-ownership. I really
just want to find out if my name is
still on the deed, what I’m entitled to
as far as tenants rent collection, and
what it was my wife was asked to sign.
Any advice or direction would be greatly
appreciated. Thank you very much.
Aaron

Asked on January 8, 2018 under Real Estate Law, Illinois

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

A deed must be filed to be effective, so you can go to the county clerk's office and look up the deed to the building, to see what it says. Whatever is on the filed deed goes. Deeds are therefore public.
There is no way to know what your wife signed *unless* it was a deed or amendment to the deed and was filed; non-filed documents will not be in public location or file. All you could do in this case would be to ask your wife or father about it.
Note that if you signed something, even "not really knowing what it was," you are bound to that. The law expects and requires you to read and understand what you sign; you are held to have understood whatever you signed. So if you did sign anything giving up any rights or ownership, you will be held to what you signed.


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