Avoid Surprises During the Spring Real Estate Season

Robert A. Finkel Robert A. Finkel

With the beginning of spring, our thoughts turn to great weather, baseball, holidays and of course real estate!

Recently, a client was selling a vacation home on the Cape, and was surprised to find a problem with an old deed in which Mom had tried to deed the property to her three children and their spouses.

The deed provided as follows:

“A”, for consideration paid of $1.00 grant a 1/3 interest as follows to: “B and C”, as tenants in common, “D and E”, as tenants in common, and “F and G”, as tenants in common.

Question– Did Mom grant a 1/3 interest, retaining a 2/3 interest or did she grant a 1/3 interest to each of the three couples, thereby granting her entire interest in the property?

Answer– There is a strong argument that Mom retained a 2/3 interest, which was not her intent. Fortunately, in this particular case, Mom, children and spouses were all available to sign a new deed to sell the home to a third party buyer.

Had Mom been deceased, her interest would have passed according to her will, or if she did not have a will, in accordance with the Massachusetts intestacy statute, resulting in potentially unwanted owners of the property. In addition to not achieving Mom’s desired result, the poorly drafted deed would have added cost and complexity to what otherwise would have been a simple transaction.

Moral of the story– Consult a qualified, experienced real estate attorney to assist with even seemingly routine transactions. Best wishes for a great spring!

About the Author

Robert Finkel has more than 20 years of experience in real estate law, general business and corporate matters, employment law, and non-profit law. Robert has assisted many clients with the acquisition, development, leasing, refinance and sale of real estate properties. He also has extensive experience in counseling private and institutional lenders and investors in connection with their real estate and business backed financings and transactions.