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I live in Maine. I have a question about a real estate

Hello, My name is...

Hello, My name is ***** ***** I live in Maine. I have a question about a real estate purchase I am trying to make. There are a couple of problems with the title and I don't know how to resolve. If I explain further, will you be able to give some advice?

Lawyer's Assistant: What steps have you taken so far? Have you prepared or filed any paperwork?

I have a signed purchase and sales agreement with the seller, but we have learned that there may be multiple heirs that own a share of the property. The seller has been paying the property taxes since 2002 and the other heirs are scattered across the country (where abouts unknown). The seller could not pay the last 3 years taxes and the town foreclosed. I paid 1 years taxes to keep it from going to public auction, but now I don;t know how to establish that the seller has the right to sell.

Lawyer's Assistant: Have you talked to a Maine lawyer about this?

No, I haven't.

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

Hmmm.... The seller cannot afford to pay the taxes and the other 'potential' heirs likely do not even kjnow about the property. I don;t want to break laws but I would like to buy the property as agreed with the seller.

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Answered in 3 minutes by:
5/17/2018
DamienJD
DamienJD, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 5,468
Experience: Attorney. Well versed, understanding, friendly
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Hello: My name is ***** ***** I am an attorney.

Is there a title insurance company involved. Was the sales contract conditional in obtaining title insurance or having clear title?

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Customer reply replied 3 months ago
I brought my P&S agreement to a local Real Estate firm and they said that it was very difficult to prove the seller was the sole heir and had rights to sell. I think it was so murkly that they would rather not handle it. At the time we signed the P&S, the seller and I both thought she was the sole heir so there wasn;t any conditional language. I want to add the the town foreclosed on the property due to non payment of taxes in Feb and it would have gone to public auction in April if I hadn't struck a deal with the town and paid 1 year's old back taxes on behalf of the seller.
Customer reply replied 3 months ago
Can I provide some additional details to explain why this is convoluted?

I see. What there is not a clear title on the property. This would make it difficult for you if you purchased the property.

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Sure.

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Customer reply replied 3 months ago
The deed to the property is in the name of a mother and son as tenants in joint. The mother passed in 1982, the son in 2002. Neither had wills. There were 4 additional siblings, all deceased. Only one sibling had a child, who is my seller. However, the ex-husband of the deceased mother remarried and had 5 children with another woman, which I think gives them a share, right?

Not necessarily. Those children are not direct decedents of the Mother. It would depend on if the Mother was still married to the Husband when she died. Then he would have had part of her share of the home. However, if the home was jointly held with rights of survivorship, the son would have inherited the home.

We can discuss this more if you want to do so.

If you have further questions or you need further assistance, just let me know.

If not, please remember to rate my answer between 3 to 5 stars without any additional costs to you. That is how I get credit for answering your question. Best regards.

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Customer reply replied 3 months ago
Sure, let's discuss by phone so I can make sure you have all the details, ok?

That is fine. You can request a phone call. Otherwise, we can continue here. I am not quite sure what you would like to know at this point.

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Customer reply replied 3 months ago
I have gotten conflicting answers about the step-siblings having claim to the property and I do not know what to believe. The step-children were all born after the divorce from the first marriage. Are you saying they do not have a claim?
Customer reply replied 3 months ago
Also, my seller and her late mother have been paying the property taxes from 2002 to 2015 so does this give them any special rights or claim to the property?

It's hard to know without diagraming the family tree. If the Mother was married to the husband when she died, he would have had inheritance rights. So, he would have a claim or his heirs could have a claim. But if it was owned as joint tenants with rights for survivorship, it could be a tougher claim against the Mother's estate. But there still could be a claim.

Separately, the payment of taxes may allow for some claim of reimbursement but I am not sure if that makes them entitled to the whole home as a matter of law.

We can discuss this more if you want to do so.

If you have further questions or you need further assistance, just let me know.

If not, please remember to rate my answer between 3 to 5 stars without any additional costs to you. That is how I get credit for answering your question. Best regards.

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Customer reply replied 3 months ago
The father and mother were divorced when the property was purchased. I have done as much research on the family tree as I can. I have attached a diagram from my research. I can explain more in a phone call if it would help.

Have you considered commencing a quiet title action?

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Customer reply replied 3 months ago
Incidentally the names of the deed holders are Jennie M Hand and George J Hand. Again, both deceased and they left no wills. George's sister and niece (Francis carter and Beverly Carter) had been paying the property taxes up until 2015. As you can see from my diagram, all of the full-siblings are deceased, but there are half-siblings still alive. You're saying the half-siblings do not have claim to the property, right?

You said the half-siblings are not the children of the Mother. Is that correct? Also, you are saying that the Mother never adopted the half-siblings (presumably). Lastly, you stated that the Mother and the Father were divorced when she died correct?

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Customer reply replied 3 months ago
The half-siblings are not the children of Jennie M Hand. They are the children of the ex-husband and his second wife. Jennie never adopted any of the half-siblings, either. And, Jennie M Hand was divorced to Jarvis E Hand when she died in 1982.

It appears there may be enough evidence to show that the half-siblings are not entitled to the home. In any event, the title is still clouded. The argument would have to be made in court to quiet the title. The half-siblings would have a right to argue their position if they appear in the action.

If you have further questions or you need further assistance, just let me know.

If not, please remember to rate my answer between 3 to 5 stars without any additional costs to you. That is how I get credit for answering your question. Best regards.

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Customer reply replied 3 months ago
This is helpful and I will certainly rate my experience when we conclude.Title 18-A of the Maine State Probate Code states: §2-107. Kindred of half blood
Relatives of the half blood inherit the same share they would inherit if they were of the whole blood. [1979, c. 540, §1 (NEW).] ---------- This is the reason I am confused about their rights or claim to the property even though the town already foreclosed and I convinced the town to NOT sell it at auction if I paid one year's taxes. I worry that I wasted my time and money... :(Who should I contact in Maine that can help clear this up for me? Do you know of any free legal services or do I need to hire someone (or just walk away from it?)

The half-blood relates to the Mother: so if the Mother had two husbands and children from both of those husbands, the Mother's children would be half-blood related.

The only way to clear this up is to commence a quiet title action. A real estate litigation attorney with Trust & Estate experience (or visa versa) can handle this if that is the direction you want to go.

If you have further questions or you need further assistance, just let me know.

If not, please remember to rate my answer between 3 to 5 stars without any additional costs to you. That is how I get credit for answering your question. Best regards.

DamienJD
DamienJD, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 5,468
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Customer reply replied 3 months ago
Only if the siblings shared the same mother would they be considered half-siblings? The father's second marriage does not constitute a half-sibling relationship? That is very interesting and works in my favor.Thank you for your assistance, Mr Bosco. Have a terrific day!

You are welcome. You too!

P.S. The sibling are half-siblings on the Father's side and all could inherit from the Father. But only the Mother's biological children can inherit from her or her adopted children.

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