One party is leaving property and whats to be payed for investment, what can we do?

We bought a house about ten years ago and put my Mother on the deed with the (verbal) agreement that it was in name only. If anything should happen to her it would all be ours. She put it in her will that it would go to us but we have no copy of it. The agreement was that she would build a garage apartment and live rent free till she died. Since then it has been nothing but fights between us and my family. Now she wants to move and for us to pay her back her investment. We are not asking her to move and don’t have the money to give anyway. What are our options if she tries to force this?

Asked on July 3, 2009 under Real Estate Law, Texas

Answers:

J.M.A., Member in Good Standing of the Connecticut Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

I am a lawyer in CT and practice in this aras of the law.  Your mom is on the deed and you can argue as to how much of an ownership interest she has.  I am not sure as to what ownership interest she has as it does not seem that there was an agrement on that.  You need to come up with some value for her interest otherwise she is going to claim half.  At the end of the day, your mom can hire a lawyer to file an action which will ultimately have a judge order that the  the property is sold and divide among the percentage interest he determines exists.  If your mom made a monetary investment into the house, then the court will be able to come up with a percentage interest.  If you want to avoid having to go to court, then come up with an amount of the money she is owed/entitled to and pay her off over time to the amount that she put in.  I would need to know more details here about how the purchase of the property happended and what money was invested.  I suggest seeing a lawyer immediately.


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