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Barrister, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 38237
Experience:  17 yrs estate law, real estate. Wills/Trusts/Probate
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My father died and designated my brother and me as grantee

Customer Question

my father died and designated my brother and me as grantee beneficiaries through a beneficiary deed. We did not record the beneficiary deed. I recently filed chapter 7 bankruptcy and listed my 50% interest in real estate. The trustee says I must sell the property to pay the creditors. Since then I found that the beneficiary deed was never recorded. Since I am not the legal owner of record can the trustee force me to sell my house or is the beneficiary deed invalid.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Estate Law
Expert:  Barrister replied 2 years ago.
Hello and welcome! My name is ***** ***** I will try my level best to help with your situation or get you to someone who can.
Unfortunately the deed doesn't have to be recorded in the public records to be legally effective. Although most deeds are recorded to put the world on notice of the change in ownership, it is not mandatory. The deed would be legally valid if it was signed and notarized by the grantor (owner) of the property transferring it to the grantee (the recipient) and the deed delivered to the recipient.
So I hate to say it, but yes, if you have filed BK, the trustee would have the legal authority to compel a sale of the property at public auction with brother receiving half and the other half going to pay your creditors.
I am very sorry that I don’t have better news, but please understand that I do have an ethical and professional obligation to provide customers with legally correct answers based on my knowledge and experience, even when I know the answer doesn’t make the customer happy...