Can I be forced to sign a quitclaim deed?

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Can I be forced to sign a quitclaim deed?

Many years ago my grandmother put me onto the title of her home, with the understanding that the home would be mine at some point. Just yesterday I found out that she has placed the home for sale, and her realtor is urging me to sign a quit claim in order to remove my name from the deed so she can sell and not have to share her profits. I’m not exactly comfortable with this. My grandmother and I have not spoken for two years due to other issues, so I feel she is basically cutting me out. I don’t know whether to sign, or what my other options are, and her realtor is rushing me because the closing is relatively soon. I honestly do not want to sign, and I don’t want her money either, I simply want the house that she placed in my name for me. What are my options or what is the correct course of action here?

Asked on May 2, 2017 under Real Estate Law, Georgia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Your option is to not sign and not allow the sale at all if you don't want it to be sold: selling a home requires the consent of all owners. You cannot be forced to sign a quitclaim deed or sell except by a court order (see below).
Note that if you and she cannot mutually agree or decide what to do with the home, there is a legal mechanism, called a lawsuit for "partition," by which she can get a court order requiring a sale and the distribution or splitting of the profit. However, this takes time and requires her to file a lawsuit, which means that you have leverage to try to work something out with her--especially since even if she does bring a lawsuit for partition and prevail, forcing a sale, she'll have to share any profits with you: there is no way for her to legally keep the profits from you.
Knowing that ultimately a sale could be compelled, but that if one is, you will get your share of the money, you may wish to try to negotiate with her to let you buy out her interest in the home instead at a favorable price (though this will involve her breaching or defaulting on the contract to sell the home to the other people, and the consequences of that will need to be factored in--i.e. you may have to agree to cover whatever damages or costs she thereby incurs, as part of whatever deal you can strike with her.) 
(Note that the evidently signed a contract to sell does NOT require you to sell: you did not sign the contract and are not bound by it.)
So to sum up: you don't have to sign the quitclaim; you have leverage to negotiate with her; ultimately, she can bring a legal action to force a sale ("partition"), but if she does, you will have to get your share.
 


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