Q: How many names can be on a deed? My mother passed in March. My name is on the deed.
I am 21 years old and my aunts told me I have to move out of my house. What should I do?
A: Unfortunately, your letter is lacking the kind of detail that would allow me to provide more specific advice. But let me start at the top and give you a few options.
First, I don’t think there is a limit to how many names can be listed on a deed. Technically, 20 people or more could be listed as co-owners of the property.
Did your mom own the property by herself? Did you own it with her? Are your aunts listed on the deed? You say that you’re listed on the deed, but have you checked? You can go to your local recorder of deeds and see who is listed on the title to the property, and you should see what you discover.
Let’s say you, your mom and your two aunts are all listed as owners of the property. If you inherited your mother’s estate (let’s assume you get everything and there is a will), then you might now own half of the property. You’d own your quarter share and your mom’s quarter share.
I hardly think that your aunts can force you to move if you’re an owner, and you’re of the age of majority. But if they do own a piece of the property and they want to sell the property and you want to keep it, you’ll have to figure out a way to either buy them out or negotiate how to purchase the home from them, even if you buy it over time. If you want to control the property, you have to own all of it.
It sounds as you feel a bit bullied by the situation. I recommend you sit down with a real estate attorney who can help you figure out what you own, what’s happening with your mother’s estate (are you the executor?) and what you should do next.
Dec. 6, 2007.