What to do if my late father purchased a property with a woman who was not his wife?

We just recently learned of this purchase, which was made 26 years ago. If my father’s name is still on the property, can me or my mother (his wife at the time of his death) stake a legal claim on this property?

Asked on March 8, 2013 under Estate Planning, New York


Catherine Blackburn / Blackburn Law Firm

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

If your father and the woman took title to the property as joint tenants with the right of survivorship (i.e., were listed on the deed this way), then the woman became the sole owner of the property when your father died.  In this instance, neither you nor your mother could stake a claim for the property.

I suggest you find a lawyer, title agent, or private investigator who can trace title to the property and find out the names that appeared on the deed.  When you know this, you can consult a lawyer to find out if your father's heirs own any portion of it.

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