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Marsha411JD
Marsha411JD, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 19941
Experience:  Licensed Attorney with 29 yrs. exp. with Estate Law issues
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I'm writing from the state of Florida. City of Port Saint

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My name is ***** ***** I'm writing from the state of Florida. City of Port Saint Lucie.
Myself and my Life Partner were together for 30 yrs. During that time we owned several houses as investments and built 2 different homes for ourselves. The only home that is left now is the last one we lived in together for 15 years. I still reside there. We got the CO for that property in July of 1999. We were unaware, but the deed to the property just had our 2 names on it, and no other additional wording. In Oct. of 2013, Barbara, my partner was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer that had spread to her liver. We were devastated. The doctors said there wasn't much they could do, and they gave her about 2 months to live, and also told her to get her affairs in order. She was very depressed, and so was I. She actually lived about 4 months and died March 12th, 2014.
In Dec. of 2013, we started having discussions about what to do about her estate. She had no will, and did not feel like going through the trouble of drawing one up. She only had 3 bank accounts that were in her name alone. The total of these accounts was about $18,000. And of coarse our home in which we lived. The home's market value on today's market would be around $500,000.00.
At this point it's probably a good time to mention that Barbara has 2 children. Kelly, who is about 48, and lives in Jupiter, FL. and Jeff, who is about 46, and lives in North Carolina. Kelly is married with no children, and Jeff is married with 4 children. In the 30 yrs. that Barb and I were together, she had very little contact with her children after they moved out of the house. Kelly has even openly admitted that neither her or Jeff were ever very close to their mother. We never really understood why, because by all accounts, Barb was a very good mother to them. Their natural father died in 1996 from a massive heart attack.
In any event, back in the December of 2013, (approximately 3 months before she died), I asked Barb how she wanted to handle her affairs. She said have the children make my funeral arrangements. Hopefully this will give them some closure. Use the money in my accounts to pay for it. I said ok. Then I asked, what about the house? How do you want your portion to be left? She said to me. I said what about your kids. She said, if I give them anything, that would be up to me. So, I proceeded to call the county clerks office to see how our deed was worded. They told me it just had our 2 names and no other wording. I did a little research and found if we added Joint Tenancy with Right of Survivorship, then the house would automatically go to me, and not have to go through probate. I called the clerk back and explained that we wanted to add that wording to our deed. She said no problem. Both of you just come in with your identification and we could do it right there. So we both went in and filled out a quit claim deed back to ourselves, and added the additional wording. We each signed in front of 2 witnesses. And then a Notary had to stamp it. Barb decided to let the children file for probate and get any money that was left in her accounts. She wasn't too pleased with the children, because she had so little contact with them, and they did not want to help me take care of her in her last few months. The only people that I could count on to watch Barb, when I had to go to work, were my parents. My parents were 84 & 86 at the time. But they never complained. I'm sorry for such a long story.
That brings us to today. Just about 2 months short of 2 years since Barb died.
All of a sudden about 3 weeks ago, I received a voicemail from Jeff in North Carolina.
He said he just wanted to give me a heads up because he and Kelly were going to contest the deed that, and I quote "you had fraudulently signed over to you". He said they had legal council, and they would be handling it from here on out.
I have one more thing to explain. In the last couple of years, Barb was exhibiting that her memory was a bit off. And even get confused from time to time. Doctor said it could be ammonia being released by the deceased liver, or it could have been a touch of dementia. There was never an official diagnosis of that. Official cause of death was Colon Cancer. Anyway, I haven't heard anything else since that voicemail, almost 3 weeks ago. And my parent's lawyer said not to respond, so I haven't. Just looking for another opinion. My guess is, they are going to try to show that their mother was not of sound mind, when she signed the deed. Or that I coursed her in some way. I can tell you, for a fact that she knew exactly what she was doing at that time. And I didn't try to influence her in any way. Anyway, what do you make of all this?
Thanks, Joe
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Estate Law
Expert:  Marsha411JD replied 1 year ago.

Hello Joe,

Thank you for the information and your question. Although it doesn't help your position that the children might be able to find evidence of your partner's mental issues, but they would not only have to prove that she had some sort of mental deficiency but also that it was enough to make it where she did not understand what she was doing when she completed the quit claim deed. You, of course, could produce, if it comes to that, the individuals who witnessed the transfer who could testify as to how she appeared and their opinion about her understanding of what she was doing.

If, by some strange chance her kids could prove that she was incompetent to make the transfer, which is highly doubtful based on what you say, then they would likely be awarded 50% of the value of the home since you were not married and she did not have a Will, which is very unfortunate.

At this point, you need to be ready to hire an attorney to defend any lawsuit that might come along. But it does seem that you have the facts as to her mental health on your side. Please feel free to ask for clarification if needed. If none is needed, then if you could take a moment to leave a positive rating in the box above, I will receive credit for assisting you today. Thank you.

Expert:  Marsha411JD replied 1 year ago.

Hello again,

I wanted to touch base with you and make sure that you did not have any follow up questions for me from the answer I provided to you on the 5th. For some reason, the Experts are not always getting replies or ratings (at the top of the question/answer page you are viewing or in the pop up box for this question), which is how we get credit (paid by the Site) for our work, that the customer thinks have gone through. In your case I received neither. If you are having technical difficulties with reading, replying or rating, please let me know so that I can inform the Site administrator. Please note that Site use works best while using a computer and using either Google Chrome or Firefox.

In any event, it was a pleasure assisting you and I would be glad to attempt to assist you further on this issue, or a new legal issue, if needed. You can bookmark my page at: http://www.justanswer.com/law/expert-marsha411jd/

Thank you.