Legal Question in Real Estate Law in Pennsylvania

Father's new marriage and my name on the deed

After my parents' divorce in 2000, my father put my name on the deed to our family home, along with his own. My mother was fine with this. However, my father is considering getting married again. Can he remove my name from the deed and put his new wife's name on without my consent?

Asked on 1/16/07, 3:23 pm

4 Answers from Attorneys

Robert F. Cohen Law Office of Robert F. Cohen

Re: Father's new marriage and my name on the deed

The answer depends on how title is held. If it's held jointly, then there is a possibility he could do that. If it is held as tenants in common (which would be more likely), he can't without your notarized signature. If you have concerns, schedule a short consultation with an attorney and bring the deed with you. There are ways an attorney can assist you to protect your interest in the property.

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Answered on 1/16/07, 3:28 pm

Re: Father's new marriage and my name on the deed


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Answered on 1/16/07, 3:32 pm
John Davidson Law Office of John A. Davidson

Re: Father's new marriage and my name on the deed

Well if what really happened was your mother and father executed a new deed where they as Grantors name you and your father as Grantees and the deed was recorded with the county recorder of deeds then the answer is NO.

If all he deed was update the existing deed and didn't record it then he'll probably need you mother to ok it.

Some clarification: A deed is a one time document just like a checkout slip at a supermarket. Once its is executed it only becomes effective when recorded. Fail to record it and you have failed to give notice to the world it is your land.

If you have any questions feel free to contact me. The initial consultation is free.


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Answered on 1/16/07, 3:38 pm
Bryan Whipple Bryan R. R. Whipple, Attorney at Law

Re: Father's new marriage and my name on the deed

I've read the three previous responses, and have a little different viewpoint for you.

First, as someone has pointed out, a deed is a single-use instrument. Once executed, delivered and recorded, its work is done.

Obviously, you mean "can he remove my name from the title."

The answer is no, with three possible exceptions:

(1) If the deed were not recorded, and he sold the house to a bona-fide purchaser for fair value and without notice of your interest in the house, it is very likely the bona-fide purchaser's title would be good. You would be left with a cause of action against your father for your money damages, but you'd have lost the half interest in the house. This doesn't happen very often, because deeds are usually recorded, and purchasers are sometimes careful to make inquiries into title going beyond merely looking at the last recorded deed, e.g., if you are living in the house and he isn't, the purchaser is on notice to inquire into your possible interest in the house.

(2) If the deed transaction in 2000 was fraudulent, or contrary to court order, a court could void it, and ownership would go back to the prior situation, possibly accompanied by an additional court order. This is also unlikely.

(3) When people co-own property, either co-owner can ask a court to partition the property. In modern days, this is usually done by a court supervised sale through normal broker channels (not a courthouse-steps auction) followed by division of the net proceeds after deducting costs and paying off liens and making adjustments for any excess payments for mortgage, taxes, insurance, etc. made by an owner and profits from rents to third parties received by an owner, if any.

In cases (2) and (3), you would know what was going on in advance because you would be served court papers as a necessary party. #1 is sneaky and you might not know about it until it was too late, but having the deed recorded will prevent it.

By the way, I cannot see that it makes any difference whether you are tenants in common or joint tenants.

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Answered on 1/16/07, 5:52 pm

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