Q: I have a quit claim deed naming my mom, my two older brothers and me as the new owners of the house. The deed states that each of us owns the home with rights of survivorship. My mother and two older brothers have passed away. Am I the sole owner now?
A: If the person that signed the quit claim deed was the rightful owner of the property, your mom, your brothers and you owned the property at the time the deed was transferred. If you held the property with rights of survivorship, as the sole survivor of all of the people named on the quit claim deed, you should now be the sole owner of the property.
However, while it certainly seems as if you should be the sole owner of the property, there may be other circumstances out there that could change your situation. Some of these issues could include the loss of the property due to unpaid real estate taxes, the loss of the property due to a mortgage foreclosure action or, if the property was abandoned for years, someone else might now have a claim on the property.
If your family has occupied and used the home continuously, you should be the owner. For clarity on this issue, you can go to a title insurance company in your area and request that they prepare a title insurance commitment for the property. That title insurance commitment should identify the owner of the property.
If you are applying for a loan on the property, your lender may order a title insurance commitment and that title insurance commitment should identify you as the sole owner of the property.
Dec. 19, 2008.