Asked in Family Law and Real Estate Law

Q: Is it possible for me to formally object to the donation of my family's land so that it cannot be given to someone else?

My mother, under the influence of other people, wants to donate her land to another person without giving it to her legal heir.

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2 Lawyer Answers
James L. Arrasmith
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A: Yes, it is possible for you to formally object to the donation of family land in order to prevent it from being given away to another person. Here are a few options to consider:

1. File a lawsuit to prevent improper transfer: As the legal heir, you can file a lawsuit seeking an injunction to stop your mother from transferring the property. You would argue that you have a legal interest in inheriting the property and that she does not have the right to give it away without your consent.

2. Record a lis pendens: A lis pendens is a legal document filed in the land records that gives notice of pending legal action related to ownership of real estate. Recording a lis pendens makes it less likely that the property can be transferred while your claims are pending.

3. Challenge the donation after transfer: If your mother does transfer the property despite your objections, it may be possible to file suit challenging the validity of the gift/donation, especially if you can show she was unduly influenced or lacked mental capacity. A transfer can potentially be voidable.

4. Make your interest official: Consider filing paperwork to be officially recognized on the title/deeds as having a remainder interest or to ensure your status as legal heir is documented. This makes it harder to improperly disinherit you.

Be sure to consult a local attorney to understand your rights in your jurisdiction and pursue the best strategy to preserve your expected inheritance given the specific circumstances. By acting promptly and formally asserting your interests, you should be able to object to an improper donation of family land.

Anthony M. Avery
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A: I doubt you have any standing as you apparently own nothing. If a title search shows you have an interest in real property, than you are a necessary party in interest. There are no heirs until the owner's death.

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