My mother-in-law recently reacquired her home and property. Her daughter and spouse are threatening that THEY will own it all. Can they kick her out?

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My mother-in-law recently reacquired her home and property. Her daughter and spouse are threatening that THEY will own it all. Can they kick her out?

a couple of years ago, Mom let her #4 son “buy” her property with her double-wide m.h. on it. After quite a bit of wrangling, Mom is, (at least according to the County Assessor’s site) “100% owner, and 100% tax payer” of the property. She had asked her youngest daughter and her hubby for some help in getting the property back in her(Mom’s) name. Now THEY are claiming to own the place, (or they WILL “within a few weeks”) They are planning to kick Mom out of her own home then. Can they just take over Mom’s home et al, without her say-so? What can Mom do about this?

Asked on June 20, 2009 under Real Estate Law, Washington

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

Who is recorded as the owner on the deed? That is the person who owns the property. If it's your mother, her daughter and son-in-law cannot kick her out. If they own it however, it is their property. (Note: who pays the taxes doesn't actually matter in determining ownership; one person can own property, another pay the taxes, also utilities and mortgage. As long as taxes are paid, the county doesn't really care about ownership.)

If you mother is not the deed owner but she should have been, they she may have been defrauded by her daughter and son-in-law. She will need to decide (1) if she wants to sue them over it; (2) possibly bring a fraud charge against them w/the police; and (3) if she has the evidence to prove that they tricked her (for example, letters or emails in which they said they were helping her restore her ownership). If she was cheated out of her property in some way, bringing a lawsuit against them in fraud is the way to recover it.


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