What recourse does a family have against a family member who refuses to sell a house that doesn’t legally belong to them?

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What recourse does a family have against a family member who refuses to sell a house that doesn’t legally belong to them?

My fathe-in-law is in an assisted living and my husband is listed as his sole guardian. He is also currently still married to my mother-in-law, who is listed as the owner of their home. However, the deed was transferred to her with no consideration, to avoid the state taking the property when he was placed in guardian care. The mortgage is also in my FIL’s name and being paid by my MIL.The relationship in the family is very strained and both my husband and his sister, sole children want this house sold and the profit to be split between my MIL and FIL. She does not want to sell.

Asked on March 29, 2012 under Real Estate Law, New York

Answers:

Jeff Lerman / Lerman Law Partners, LLP

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Under California (where I practice), it is not so clear that the house "doesn't legally belong" to your mother-in-law, based on the facts you provided.  You need to consult a lawyer, let the lawyer review all documents and discuss this with you further to get all relevant facts.  If it turns out that your MIL doesn't have a legal claim to the property, your primary recourse is to maintain a "quiet title" action.  We can help.  Call for a free consultation at 800-553-7626 if the property is, or your inalaws are, located in California.


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