Q: Property acquired through quitclaim deed has transferability restrictions to heirs at law, but the grantor is deceased.
There was a plot of land that my grandfather transferred to me through a quitclaim deed many years ago. Regarding current situations I am looking to sell the property, However, in the quitclaim deed, it says that the transferability only extends to heirs at law. However it also says that it can be waived with written consent of all heirs at law of my grandfather. Who would be classified as all heirs at law? My grandfather passed away four years ago. Would it still apply?
The grantor (my grandfather) also did not grant any water or mineral rights? Who has the mineral and water rights now that he has passed away? Would it resort back to his primary estate or be passed down to me because I own the property he put the restrictions on?
Would a lawyer be necessary in being able to sell this property because of the way the deed was written? It is all quite confusing and any suggestions or advice would be quite helpful. Especially pertaining who would be considered the heirs at law.
A: The restrictive language you mentioned in the deed may not be enforceable under Michigan law under Michigan Land Title Standard 9.1. I suggest you contact a title company to obtain a title commitment for the property. The title commitment will tell you what steps you may need to take (if any) before you can sell the property. It may end up that you can just disregard the language about heirs in the deed.
The term "heirs at law" is defined by MCL 700.2720 as those persons who would be entitled to a decedent's property if that person died without a will.
A deed does not have to expressly grant water or mineral rights. You did not state that the grantor reserved mineral rights. I do not know what you mean by "water rights". That phrase does not have a specific meaning under Michigan law as far as I know. There are a number of different rights that might be called "water rights".
The restriction purportedly placed on the property by your grandfather seems like an unreasonable restraint on alienation. See MCL 554.51.
Although a title company might sort this out and insure title in your buyer, you may need to consult an attorney. An attorney would need to see the documents.
Nina Whitehurst agrees with this answer
A: Your grandfather's deed violates Michigan's rule against perpetuities (every attorney's favorite legal concept.) Suggestions that a title company can sort this out are misguided - only a judge in a court of competent jurisdiction can dictate the legal impact of the language contained in the deed. Contact a real estate attorney for more information - See www.provenresource.com to learn more.
Anthony M. Avery agrees with this answer
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