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Roger, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 30902
Experience:  BV Rated by Martindale-Hubbell; SuperLawyer rating by Thompson-Reuters
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Hello; My wife purchased a piece of property in Grayson

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My wife purchased a piece of property in Grayson Ky. for her brother (who was disable) a few years ago. She paid a downpayment on the land contract, then over the course of the loan (carrried by the owner) she paid the balance off. However before the owner could sign the deed over to her brother, both the owner (then a short time after) her brother passed away. That was well over two years ago. Apparently the owner had only one relative, a daughter that was estranged and hadn't seen him in years. She contacted the daughter who said she knew nothing about it. My wife decided she wants to sell the property, so called the county clerk office in Kentucky and was told that the property WAS in her name, but to get title, she had to show proof that the contract was paid off. (Which she can't as the owner issued no reciepts for any of the payments.) However apparently he did put the title in her name as it is listed as such. She asked the clerk what she should do to obtain the title and was told to talk to the lawyer up there who did the original loan contract. But when she tries to call him, his office manager says he is busy and that to do anything, she needs to send hime a $1,500 fee to begin the process of trying to get her the clear title. (The county office has confirmed that there are no liens or other monies owed, and my wife has been paying the taxes on the property.)
As the value of the property is less than $10K (which is less than she paid for it,) and as we both are retired, and have no income at the moment, we are VERY reluctant to spend that much money on a lawyer, especially is we don't know if that is all that will be required, OR if he can even get the title... Any suggestions on how to solve this problem?
Hi - my name is XXXXX XXXXX I'm a Real Estate litigation attorney. Thanks for your question.

It's great news that the title is in her name because if the seller hadn't deeded the property to you wife before he passed away, it would have made things much more difficult!

If there's still an issue regarding the contract being paid off, your wife would have to file a petition to quiet and confirm title and to remove cloud from the title. This is a court petition that is filed and it asks the court to find that your wife is the fee simple owner of the property and that there are no liens or claims to the property.

This proceeding would clean up the title and allow your wife to hold fee simple (100% ownership) title.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

So she filed a petition in Grayson? With who? The county clerk? Can she do it herself or does she need a lawyer?

Yes, she would file the petition in the county court where the property is located.

There's no law that requires her to hire an attorney and she could file the action herself, but there are no forms for something like this, and she will have to publish notice in a local publication and follow some other procedural requirements to get this done, so it would certainly be best if she were to hire an attorney to handle this to ensure it's done correctly.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

O.K. ONE last thing please...
APPROXIMATE cost of a lawyer to do this, and should she approach the same lawyer, or get a new one, as she knows that he wants at least $1,500 to do anything...?

I think she should call around to check prices. I've done hundreds of these (I practice in Mississippi and Tennessee) and they usually cost my clients about half that amount. The reason is that these matters aren't contested usually, so it's just a paper shuffling process.

It's worth calling around - - she can pick any lawyer she wants - - and it's likely she can find some a little cheaper.
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