If there are 2 names on a deed, and 1 has moved away and lost contact, can the other 1 just sign off on a deed?

About 6 years ago my mother-in-law gave my husband and I a piece of property. We are now trying to get the deed changed to our name, but we do not know how to contact my father-in-law for him to sign off on the deed. My husband’s parents divorced about 15 years ago and they have not had contact with him since. My husband and I have paid the taxes for the last 6 years and paid $3,000 in back taxes. Is there anything we can do?

Asked on June 25, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Illinois


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

What was the agreement when your parents divorced?  Does the agreement give the house to your mother as part of her property settlement?  Then maybe the court can help you in some way but if your Father's name is on the deed and you have no other documentation to back you up you could be in trouble.  You need his signature to do the transfer.  Please seek legal help.  Good luck.

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