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Tina, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 8775
Experience:  JD, BBA Over 25 years legal and business experience.
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My father passed away back in 2010 but didn't have a will do

Customer Question

My father passed away back in 2010 but didn't have a will do before he did he made sure to go and get a legal document signing his house over to me With the agreement that I would be sole owner once his wife .my step mother , passes away because she still lives in the house . Fast forward years down the line A man and my stepmother used to raise Who had been absent in her life for 30+ years up until a month after my father passed came back and started to get good with my stepmother . He started putting work on the house and helping around the yard . He ended up winning my stepmother over and talked her into signing the house over to him. He had my stepmother ask me for the papers back to make a copy and when I did he destroyed them!! All I have left are the copies!! He then proceeded to tell me that she was going to sign the house over to him ! Is there anything that I can do !? This is a person that my father never liked and warned us about plenty of times as a manipulator ! My stepmother was cared for solely by my father she never graduated grade school so she doesn't have much education And she always needs someone to read over papers for her and help her make decisions which was the role of my father and me and I think that he's using her as a pawn to get my father's property! Please help !! Because him doing this would be my father's worst nightmare :(
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Loren replied 4 months ago.
Good morning. I am Loren, a licensed attorney for over 30 yrs, and I will be assisting you this morning.
Could you provide a bit more detail regarding the document signed by your father? Was it recorded? Did he have sole title to the house?
Expert:  Loren replied 4 months ago.
Also, did your father seek legal counsel to prepare this document?
In which state did this occur?
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
Hello! I don't know exactly what the paper was called right now I'll be able to provide that soon as I get off of work tho! It was pretty much like a transfer of ownership or deed type . The 3 of us (me ,him and my step mothers) went to their bank and signed the papers there , I then after went and got it notarized also . I'm not sure if any of counts as being recorded tho ? I know he discussed with a lawyer who gave him the idea to sign the paper but it's been so long ago im not sure who that lawyer was . And this happened in Hamilton County in Tennessee .
Expert:  Loren replied 4 months ago.
how was title held to the property? Did your father own it in his name alone or was it also in your mother's name as a joint or co-tenant.
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
My fathers parents left the house to him and his siblings when they passed. And the siblings gave their shares of that to my father solely . I'm sure if he added her name on it or not as joint because she did have to sign over the house title to me with my father so idk if it was just because they were married or what , I'll have to ask my aunt . Could you please just tell me the outcome of either senerio: if it was joint or; if it was co tenant .
Expert:  Loren replied 4 months ago.

Thank you for the additional information.

If your mother and father owned the property as joint tenants then the property became hers, as the surviving joint tenant.

If they are tenants in common, then she owns a one half interest and probate will need to be filed to distribute your late father's interest, which is split between you and your mother. She would then be a 3/4 owner to your 1/4.

If your father's document was a holographic will then it can be enforced if it is entirely in his handwriting and 3 independent witnesses can verify in court it is his handwriting.

Also, where a third party purposely destroyed a document to prevent its enforcement, you can petition the court to admit the copy.