How to getname change on a deed?

My mother-in-law has been paying real estate taxes for well over 20 years on a propertybut her name is not on the deed. There was a hand-shake agreement that her mother made when she bought the property. The individual’s name that sold it to her is still on the deed (recorded 35 years ago). He died more than 20 years ago and we cannot find any surviving relatives. Is there any way to get the deed switched to her?

Asked on November 3, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Illinois


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If you believe that your mother-in-law has been paying property taxes on the parcel that she resides in for more that 20 years but you have no deed transferring the property into her name or her mother's name or any written agreement by the person who was of record owner to the parcel, you should consult with a real estate attorney about your question.

If there are no surviving relatives of the owner of record and he has passed, the sole way to get legal title transferred is to file an adverse possession action with the court and have the summons and complaint served by publication.

After the time for any interested person to answer has expired, your mother-inlaw can take a default and then have a prove up hearing to have the court declare that she is owner of the property in a judgment. Once you get a filed judgment for adverse possession, a certified copy is then recorded on the property placing title in your mother-in-law's name.

Good luck.

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