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Bonsai55

Attorney filed home ownership between a father and son as Tenants in Common instead of Joint Tenants. Any recourse?

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My son and I purchase a home assuming we are Joint Tenants. I have owned several houses over the years. Twelve years later, my son Quit Claims his ownership to my wife. One year later my wife passes away. Try to sell my house and find out the original attorney filed my son and I as Tenants in Common. Never explained. County registrar just followed suit when Quit Claim was filed without question. $10,000+ and 9-12 months of probate to settle this. I do not have $10,000+. What recourse do I have against the orginal attorney who never explained our options on this subject and has put me in this situation?

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I am afraid it is your son's mistake. If he had wanted to convey it as Joint Tenants, that is what he had to do. Absent specifically specifying Joint Tenants in the quit claim deed, it is tenants in common by default, joint tenants is never assumed. Even if you and your son held title as joint tenants, a transfer by your son to you, without specifically naming you and your wife as joint tenants, would have meant tenants in common. Did your wife have a will?

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Probably none because even if you and your son had owned the property as joint tenants with a right of survivorship (JTWROS) once he quit claimed his interest to your wife, the JTWROS was broken. He would have had to transfer his interest to both of you as JTWROS or tenants by the entirety (TBE). 

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15 hours ago, Bonsai55 said:

My son and I purchase a home assuming we are Joint Tenants.

 

Why would you assume any such thing.  The manner in which you took title was clearly written on the deed by which you acquired title.

 

 

15 hours ago, Bonsai55 said:

Twelve years later, my son Quit Claims his ownership to my wife.

 

Even if you and your son had been joint tenants, this would have destroyed the joint tenancy.

 

 

15 hours ago, Bonsai55 said:

Try to sell my house and find out the original attorney filed my son and I as Tenants in Common.

 

I'm not sure what "the original attorney" means in this context.  Whom did this attorney represent?

 

 

15 hours ago, Bonsai55 said:

County registrar just followed suit when Quit Claim was filed without question.

 

Not sure what this means.  The county registrar has nothing to do with the manner in which your home was titled.

 

 

15 hours ago, Bonsai55 said:

What recourse do I have against the orginal attorney who never explained our options on this subject and has put me in this situation?

 

None.  Even if I assume that the attorney in question represented you in connection with the purchase of this home, and even if I assume it was malpractice not to discuss with you how you and your son would hold joint title, the statute of limitations on legal malpractice in Minnesota is six years, and you said that the alleged malpractice occurred approximately 14 years ago.

 

Moreover, as mentioned above, even if you and your son had been joint tenants, when he conveyed his interest to your wife, it would have destroyed the joint tenancy.  Therefore, any alleged malpractice became moot at that time.

 

Additionally, your alleged damages resulted from having to go through the probate process in connection with your wife's estate.  However, your wife was not one of the original joint owners.  It would not have been foreseeable to the attorney 14 years ago that, 12 years later, your son might transfer his interest to your wife.

 

Finally, you at least had constructive knowledge that you and your son did not own the property as joint tenants.  Having not discussed this with the attorney, you had no good reason to "assum[e] [you were] Joint Tenants."  Any such assumption was also unreasonable because you could and should have noticed that the deed did not say anything about joint tenants.  If this was important to you, you could and should have done something about it at that time.  You also could and should have done something about it when your son transferred his interest to your wife.

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