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The Legal Owner of Real Property Matters

Hypothetical 1: Perez and Rosie are married to each other and do not have any children. They purchase a home together and the deed is in both of their names. Perez passes away. Rosie goes to sell their home and finds out that they owned the property as tenants-in-common, rather than as joint tenants.

As a result, Rosie must start probate to have Perez’s one-half share of the property either distributed to her by the probate court so she can sell the home or she needs to sell the home with the estate as one-half owner being one of the seller’s once she obtains authority to act as the estate’s personal representative.

Hypothetical 2: Bob and Sue are married to each other. However, the deed to their home is only in Bob’s name. As a result, when their relationship hits a rough patch, Bob believes that he can sell the home since it is only in his name.

Bob quickly finds out that in Minnesota, if a party is married, the spouse must sign off on the sale of any real estate. In other words, the fact that Sue is not listed on the deed does not mean that Bob gets to sell the property without Sue’s written permission.

Hypothetical 3: Jenna and Jasper live together, but are not married to one another. The home they live in is in Jenna’s name. Jenna decides she is going to sell it, but Jasper does not agree.

Jasper is informed that Jenna is legally authorized to sell the home without his permission. However, if Jasper does not leave the home voluntarily, Jeanna will need to bring eviction proceedings (this assumes that there is not a moratorium due to a pandemic) to have Jasper removed from the home. Most likely this will cause complications in the sale.

Hypothetical 4: Randy transfers his home via quit claim deed to his children, Curt and Dory, as he heard that is a smart thing to do in case he ends up in a nursing home. The plan is for Randy to continue to live in the home. Unbeknown to Randy, Dory has a substantial judgment against her. The creditor docketed the judgment against Dory in the county in which the home was located.

Randy is shocked to find out that unless he (as Dory does not have the funds) pays off the creditor that he will no longer be able to live at the home as it will be sold to someone else. When Randy transferred ownership out of his name his home was no longer an exempt asset from creditors because the home is not owned and occupied by him. In Minnesota, when a judgment is docketed it attaches as a lien to abstract real property automatically and is a lien upon registered land when it is recorded pursuant to law. The attachment of the lien includes future real property owned by the debtor.

Spangler and de Stefano, PLLP assists individuals and business owners with real estate matters.

The material contained herein is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to create or constitute an attorney-client relationship between Spangler and de Stefano, PLLP and the reader. The information contained herein is not offered as legal advice and should not be construed as legal advice.