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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 117370
Experience:  Licensed attorney practicing landlord-tenant, land use and other real estate law and litigation.
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My brother and I inherited property in the Florida area from

Customer Question

My brother and I inherited property in the Florida area from my parents. We are listed as tenants in common. My brother has since died leaving everything to his wife. There is an interested person in purchasing the property. A contract was written up which I signed and my sister-in-law signed my brother's name since she was sole heir to his property. A survey was drawn up by the purchaser and once it was determined that we needed to have the closing notarized, we informed the purchaser that my brother had passed away. All this we considered to be legal since my sister-in-law was sole heir. Now they are wanting us to pay $650 for the survey of the property (they are two empty lots) or legal action would be taken against us since we committed "fraud". We live in the Illinois area and cannot go to Florida.
JA: Because laws vary from place to place, can you tell me what state the property is in?
Customer: I mentioned already that it was in Florida. My sister-in-law and I are in Illinois.
JA: Has any paperwork been filed?
Customer: I don't know what you mean.
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: Do they have a right to press charges against us?
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 9 months ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
No, your sister in law could not just sign his name even as sole heir. The property had to go through probate to properly put her on the deed as sole heir or she could have signed it as administrator for his estate if it happened during probate. So they are correct in that there was fraud in the way she signed it.
You need to fix this with them or they can indeed pursue fraud charges for the way the deed was handled, but quite honestly, this was a mistake and not an intent to defraud so it is not likely the state attorney will prosecute. However, you do need to get this corrected.