Pittsfield, ME asked in Real Estate Law and Probate for Maine

Q: what type of deed do i have ???

My wife and I built a house in the state of Maine . She died,no will. The deed has her name and mine on it. We did not put jt or tic on the deed. In Maine if your spouse dies, the deed would go to me as survivor. But the county told me I can not put it in my name because it does not say joint tenants. we thought that being it was quite Claim deed with both our names on it . It would be good. I made the deed because we couldn't afford a lawyer to do it. Can't remove her name and there are 4 children that are hers.

Related Topics:
3 Lawyer Answers
Fred Bopp III
Fred Bopp III
Answered
  • Probate Lawyer
  • Yarmouth, ME
  • Licensed in Maine

A: From the facts as you state them, the deed created a tenancy in common between you and your wife, because that is the default rule in Maine unless the deed states otherwise. What this means is, when she died, her property share passed to her heirs rather than to you as the surviving tenant, so you are a co-owner with her 4 children.

Nina Whitehurst agrees with this answer

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Probate Lawyer
  • Crossville, TN

A: I agree with Mr. Bopp and feel compelled to add, for the benefit of others reading this question and answer . . . This poor fellow is now going to have to pay a couple thousand dollars at least for the privilege of getting the title updated into partly his name and partly the names of his late wife's 4 children. This will create endless complications for him going forward. He will not be able to refinance or sell the house without the signatures of all of those children. Those children, as co-owners, now have the right to move in with him if they choose to, and there is nothing he will be able to do to prevent it short of coming out of pocket and buying their shares, assuming they are willing to sell their shares. This is a complete estate planning failure.

All of this could have been avoided had he and his wife spent about $350 to hire an attorney to have the deed drafted correctly.

Furthermore, this result will be the same for all of his wife's other assets, not just the house. That too could have been avoided had they (or at least his wife) spent a modest sum to have a proper estate plan created, consisting of a will or a trust or both, along with other things.

Money "saved" not hiring an attorney for these basic things results in exponentially more angst and expense later.

Anthony M. Avery
Anthony M. Avery
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Probate Lawyer
  • Knoxville, TN

A: You continue owning an one-half undivided interest as a tenant in common since the execution of the deed, with the children owning one-eight undivided interests as tenants in common at their ancestor's death. Any of you could demand a Sale for Partition if there is sufficient equity in the property. What the County told you though only has to do with a deed to yourself, which you are not able to do anyway as there is noone to convey the estate to you but the children/issue. You could get the four tenants in common to convey their interests to you.

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.