Legal Question in Real Estate Law in Florida

Right of Survivorship

I have a con-artist step-brother that somehow got his name on my parents deed (with right of survivorship)

My mother passed away and my father wants to sell the place. My step brother wants half of the profits from the sale. He's put less than $10,000 into it over the past 15 years.

1. How can we get him off the deed?

2. If we can't, how do we put my other siblings and myself on the deed to keep him from selling the place once my father passes?

Asked on 5/11/07, 12:57 pm

4 Answers from Attorneys


Re: Right of Survivorship

Your father needs to file a partition action in which the son-in-law's share can be contested. Contact me directly.

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Answered on 5/11/07, 1:11 pm

George Shers Law Offices of Georges H. Shers

Re: Right of Survivorship

You have to find out how he got onto the deed in the first place. If he has been on it for 15 years, it is likely that any cause of action to remove him would be barred by the statute of limitations. If, however, you can show that there waw no intention to make it a joint tenancy instead of tenants in common, or that the intent of your father or mother after was such as to destroy the joint tenancy, the it would be converted to tenants in common. His getting an unequal share of the profits or paying an unequal amount of the costs or the property might qualify to show lack of joint tenancy intent. What part of the annual property taxes has he paid, has anyone from the family lived there, an unequal usage of the premises? If it remains joint tenancy, then he would own half of the property with your father and your father would need his approval to sell or would have to get a Court order for selling the property and dividing the profits. Does your brother pay state and federal taxes--the state will be notified of the sale and if he has not paid taxes for a while might audit him [can you use that as leverage against him?]. While he may be a con-man, that does not mean that your father might not still protect him, so you must get your father committed to taking steps against your brother. As to putting the other childrens' names on the property, of wha advantage is that to yuor father and why should he give up that part of the property when he might need the money or security of having the money. In general, it is best for a parent never to give up any control over a piece of property to a child. Normally, your father could file a declaration that he no longer wants to be a joint tenant, he denounces such ownership title, etc., and that will break the joint tenancy Your father should consider setting up a trust for what will happen on his death; he can if he is careful exclude your brother from inheriting anything, especially if he points out he got an interest in that property when the other children did not.

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Answered on 5/11/07, 1:31 pm
Bryan Whipple Bryan R. R. Whipple, Attorney at Law

Re: Right of Survivorship

You need a Florida lawyer; I'm only trained and licensed to comment on cases where California law applies.

If this property were in California. the first step would be to find out what that "somehow" really was. Some kinds of fraud would result in a deed that was merely "voidable" in which case the statute of limitations would be a real problem; other kinds of fraud result in a deed that is void from the get-go and a suit to have that declared is never time-barred.

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Answered on 5/11/07, 2:44 pm
David Slater David P. Slater, Esq.

Re: Right of Survivorship

This will require a partition action in Florida

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Answered on 5/16/07, 10:45 am

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