My great grandfather owned 100 acres of land and when he died it was split between my grandfather and his two brothers. When they died the land was given to their children. My mother, aunts, uncles and their cousins pay taxes on this property every year. One of the cousins took a trip to South Carolina (which is where the property is located) and realized some of the property is being lived on and some has been sold. Before my great grandfather died he remarried and it is her family that has taken over this land and forging signatures to sell it. What can we do about this? Where do we start?
1 Answer from Attorneys
I've been practicing various forms of real estate here in South Carolina for going on 20 years and can tell you that its rather hard to tell you where to start without more information. You didn't mention how you know that her family has been selling it.
If someone came to me and I had to start from scratch with no information, I would seek to obtain a copy of your great-grandfather's Will as a starting point. I would then have what is called a Title Search done; which amounts to a Title Abstractor going to the county courthouse an making copies of all of the deeds so I knew exactly who sold what, to whom, when, and so forth.
What else to do and what to do after what I just explained, all depends on what information I would obtain from what I just explained. Its sounds however that you already have some information. But without knowing what you have and what it says, I'm not in a position to answer your question, which was, what can you do and where do you start.
Forging signatures is a crime. But its not going to be as easy as just calling the police and reporting it. I doubt very much the police are going to go to the courthouse and perform a Title Search. I honestly do not know exactly what their response would be.
Your on the right track however. Contacting an attorney is the best thing you can do. But any attorney is going to need more information.
Robert J. Johnston