If my parents, the legal owners, transferred the family home to me via a deed of gift with a life interest for both of them, can ownership revert back to them?

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If my parents, the legal owners, transferred the family home to me via a deed of gift with a life interest for both of them, can ownership revert back to them?

My sister wanted to renovate that house, so she did so with her money. Now she claims that the house is owned by my parents and that she wants to sell it. Legally is this possible? Who is the owner?

Asked on June 11, 2015 under Real Estate Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

No, once something is gifted as a general matter, and once a property is gifted by deed to another person more specifically, it cannot revert back to the gifter. Furthermore, your sister was not the prevous owner--your parents were--and so has nothing to say about its disposition. If there was an agreement between her and your parents that if she paid for the renovatons, she would be able to sell the home at some point and share in the proceeds, it's possible she may be able to sue your parents for breach of contract, but that has nothing legally to do with you, based upon what you write.


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