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Barrister
Barrister, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 34302
Experience:  16 years real estate, Realtor. Landlord 26 years
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2011 Was asked by a dear friend of my husband to become his

Customer Question

2011 Was asked by a dear friend of my husband to become his caretakers and heirs in his pending old age. Part of his assets are a farm owned joint tenancy with two brothers. One brother walked away over twenty years ago and the other brother only farmed a small portion of the property without offering any compensation to either brother. Our benefactor believed that because he paid the taxes insurance and maintenance for the last 20 plus years he would have single owner rights. I had notified both brothers of the arrangement with our benefactor at that time. Being Joint tenants we believed that when the brothers passed on it would fall to our benefactor.
Hence, The farming brother has since contracted cancer and his son moved home to help. His father then signed a quit claim deed w/ living will conditions. The other brother has joined there side. They have now claimed that my husband and I a squatters. Our benefactor is willing to sign a quit claim for our portion, but I am wondering if he then can go back and sue for taxes that he has paid for the last 20 plus years. Also is there a way that we can claim the brothers portion, because they walked away.
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Barrister replied 4 months ago.

Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I am a licensed attorney who will try my very best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can. There may be a slight delay in my responses as I research statutes or ordinances and type out an answer or reply, but rest assured, I am working on your question.

Expert:  Barrister replied 4 months ago.

His father then signed a quit claim deed w/ living will conditions.

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Unfortunately, when this happened, it terminated the joint tenancy and converted it to a "tenancy in common" meaning that each owner owns 1/3 and that 1/3 will pass down to their heirs when they die.

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If your friend quitclaims his interest over to you, you will become a 1/3 owner along with the son and the other brother. But as for suing for back taxes, if there was no agreement between the brothers to split the tax bill, one can not be unilaterally imposed by your friend. Friend would be legally considered to have made a gift to his brothers by paying the taxes over the years, though unintentionally.

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As for the brother's portion, if you had permission to live there, then you aren't legally squatters, you are licensees and as such, can't claim legal ownership of the land through "Adverse possession". This is because this doctrine is reserved for people who are actually trespassers who have no rights to be on the land, but they use it for long enough to gain the right to claim legal ownership.

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But someone who has permission to be on the land can never claim adverse possession because their possession isn't "adverse" by definition.

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thanks

Barrister