Legal Question in Wills and Trusts in California

My brothers and my mom built a house and shared the title to the estate three ways. however when my mom was diagnosed with leukemia ,my mom's name was removed without her knowledge.One of them admitted that he did that to keep us, the two daughters from inheriting our mom's share which is over a million dollars.

My mom who is weak, feels helpless. How can we go about finding if the change of names on the house title has been changed before taking any legal action?

My mom went to the city hall to ask but the clerk turned her away refusing to give her any answers or copy of the deed.

Asked on 8/13/09, 1:54 am

3 Answers from Attorneys

Larry L. Doan Law Office of Larry L. Doan

Deeds are public records. Anyone can get them. You didn't specify what county you're in but go to the county recorder/registrar's office. Not sure why your mom could not get help on a deed, unless that clerk might have been in the wrong office, the city hall doesn't have that kind of information (maybe the county recorder's office is in the same building as city hall in your city or county). Deeds are indexed under addresses. When you say "title to the estate", you didn't clarify if that means "title to the deed" of the house or if your brothers and mom drafted a trust, etc. together to put all properties of her estate into. Anyway, if the title to the house has been transferred, you will find a new deed that your brother recorded that transferred the house to himself and his brother.

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Answered on 8/13/09, 11:16 am
Scott Linden Scott H. Linden, Esq.

Your mother's name could not be removed without her knowledge unless someone forged her signature. As Attorney Doan stated, these are public records. What County/City is the property located in? There should be an Assessor's office where you can find out the parcel number. Use this number to request a copy of the most recent deeds (we usually recommend getting at least the last 2).

The City Clerk will not have this information, only the Couty Assessor will have it, this is where deeds are recorded.

If there has been foul-play, then it should not be too difficult to unwind the transfer, however, it will place your brothers in a bt of legal trouble.

If you would like to discuss this matter further in a more private forum, please feel free to contact me directly at the email address provided by LawGuru or through our firmís website located at


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Answered on 8/13/09, 12:08 pm
J. Caleb Donner Donner & Donner

Sounds like you need to get an attorney on your side to review all of the documents and sit down and discuss the matter in its entirety. After review a strategy needs to be developed on which way to proceed to make sure that your mother's wishes are followed and that you and your sister are not improperly excluded.

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Answered on 8/13/09, 2:35 pm

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