Can I get my home back, being I sold it under emotional stress?

My father passed away lost my mother, mother in law, father-in -law, brother and 2 brother-in-laws all with in 4 years and I was the executor of the trust. My husband and I were in the process of purchasing home, the sellers their realtor were giving us crap. Even threatened to sue us if we backed out of the deal. My dad passed away on a Thursday and we had to sign the house papers Friday. We did. We did have the chance to purchase my parents’ home, which we put the other home up for sale. We didn’t sell it in 6 months so we had to sell my parents home. Then a school friend of mine bought my parents home, big mistake. I haven’t even had time to grieve for my dad. I just feel my husband and I were pressured into the house we signed on the day after my dad passed away and my school friend took advantage of my loss. A friend had told me don’t make any important decisions for a year or more, you need time to grieve, but it was to late. Oh, and 4 months after my dad passed my sister got a flesh eating disease and almost died. She is the only family I have left. We are in the process of trying to sell this home, I would like the family home back.

Asked on September 5, 2017 under Real Estate Law, Michigan

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately--and please accept our sympathy for what you went through; having lost both my parents and having my wife lose her job within a 3-month span last year, I can empathize with the effect of multiple losses and life stressors like these--your emotional state is not grounds to void a transaction (with one narrow exception, which I doubt applies, discussed below). Contracts are not subject to being terminated or voided due to the exigencies of life; if they were, contracts would be essentially unenforceable, since any time someone suffered some loss or significant setback, they could get out of a contract. (E.g. if someone lost a job, they'd look to get out of their car financing contract or lease; if someone's spouse sought to divorce them, they'd try to get out of buying a home; etc.) Rather, a contract is only terminable or voidable if the *other* side (the person who bought your house) either committed fraud (lied to you about something material, or important, to get you to sell) or breached her obligations (like not paying all that she should have). Otherwise, the law makes your life events your concern, not that of the other party to a transaction, and will not let you out of, or reverse, that transaction.
The narrow exception: IF you could show by competent medical evidence that at the time of the sale, you *and* your husband (since he was also making the decision) were mentally incompetent to manage your affairs, that might provide grounds to void the transaction. But this is a very high bar to get over; you'd basically need a doctor to testify that at the time, you were in the same mental state as someone with Alzheimer's or dementia, schizophrenia, in an alcohol-induced blackout, etc. Having life stress, emotional distress, being far off your best game, etc. is not enough; you'd have to be essentially at the level that you should have, at the time, had a guardian managing your affairs for you.


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