How do I get my home which I paid for in full, out of a trust that my mother set up before she died?

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How do I get my home which I paid for in full, out of a trust that my mother set up before she died?

I bought the house 11 years ago and we put it in my mothe’rs name so it wouldn’t be an issue during the divorce. My ex screwed up our credit so I left it in her name and made the mortgage payment for 10 years. When my mom became ill I paid her $69,000 which was the paid in full amount. She died before we could deed it to me. I have the money transfer papers. But the house is in an LLC in the trust. I want my home in my name.

Asked on August 30, 2013 under Estate Planning, Arizona

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Speak with a real estate attorney immediately--it will not be easy to get title to the home and, in fact, it may be impossible. That's because:

1) Paying the mortgage on a home does not automatically give you any interest in or title to the property--especially where, as here, there are other plausible reasons you'd be paying the mortgage (e.g. as a gift to or to help out your mother; or if you were living there, as the equivalent of rent).

2) The home is presumed to belong to the person in whose name it is titled.

3) Oral or verbal agreements, such as an oral agreement to transfer the home to you, are generally not enforceable for real estate; agreements in regard to real estate have to be in writing.

4) Your putting the house in your mother's name, if it was your house, could be seen as a transfer made to defraud creditors (including your ex-wife, since as you say, your did this so the house would not be an issue in the divorce)--and if so, courts may not help you, since courts will generally not help someone who comes to them with "unclean hands" (having done wrong in regards to the property in question).

5) When someone dies, oral or verbal promises about what they'd do with their property (e.g. leaving or deeding it to someone) are generally not enforceable; property will be transferred or disposed of by will (if there is one) or by the rules of intestate succession (if there is no will).

In short, there are many strikes against you, so you need the help of experienced counsel to see if there is any way to get title to this house.


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