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joint tenents rights of survivorship

Discussion in 'Joint Ownership' started by Kathy Saltrick, Oct 21, 2019.

  1. Kathy Saltrick

    Kathy Saltrick Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Hello,
    I want to buy a piece of property, there is a title (Deed) that says Person A with Person B
    "all as joint tenants with right of survivorship" Person A is the original owner and person B can not be found to sign off on the title. We have looked everywhere he isn't dead but he can not be found. How can we still get this property without Person Bs signature? Can we put an ad in the newspaper?
    Any information will be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you
    Kathy S.
     
  2. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    Then don't buy the property because you will never own it without both signatures of A and B on the deed.

    Person A is out of luck unless he can find person B.

    You'd be a sucker to believe anybody who tells you otherwise.

    Walk away.
     
  3. Tax Counsel

    Tax Counsel Well-Known Member

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    I disagree with adjusterjack that there is no way to do it. There is likely an option to do it, though it will cost money, take time, and may involve some risk to you. Person A would proceed with a partition suit against B. If the court allows service of Person B through publication and the court approves the partition sale then the court would authorize the sale to the highest bidder. You may end up paying more than the agreed price you have with Person A if there is active interest in the property. Person A would likely want a contract from you, though, that guarantees you'll bid at least a certain minimum price before he/she goes off on this adventure. If you were the highest bidder you would get clear title to the property and Person B's share of the sales proceeds would be put in escrow to give to him when he finally turns up. Person A would definitely want to see a lawyer about whether he could pull that off given all the circumstances involve and find out what it would cost and what the likelihood of success would be.

    I do agree with adjusterjack that you are likely best off walking away and looking for a different property to buy that does not have this problem.
     
  4. flyingron

    flyingron Well-Known Member

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    Another option is that if B is likely to be dead or whatever, A might prevail in a quiet title action to get B off the deed.

    In either solution, I have one key term for you: OWNER'S TITLE INSURANCE.
     
  5. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    Well..."everywhere" other than where he is. Right?

    Since you've been unable to locate him, how could you possibly know this?

    If your answer is, "we looked for and didn't find a death certificate," did you check all 15 counties in Arizona? What about the 58 counties in California, the 16 counties in Nevada, the 29 counties in Utah and the 33 counties in New Mexico? And what about the other 2,800+ counties, parishes, etc. in the United States? In other words, since you have not been able to locate the guy, he could, in theory, be anywhere on the planet. He could be living happily in Norway or lying dead somewhere in Botswana.

    Anyone can be found. You simply haven't found him yet.

    In order to acquire full title, you need both Person A and Person B to sign the deed. Except as indicated in "Tax Counsel's" response, without Person B, you cannot acquire anything other than Person A's interest.

    You've given no reason to believe you lack this ability, but what would be the point? Do you have reason to believe that Person B reads a particular newspaper regularly such that he would see whatever ad you might put in the paper?

    If I were you, I'd seek out a different property that doesn't have this sort of problem issue. If you're dead set on buying this particular property, then I suggest hiring a private investigator to locate Person B.
     
  6. Kathy Saltrick

    Kathy Saltrick Law Topic Starter New Member

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    I have looked everywhere in Arizona. all lead to a dead end. nothing for the last three years. I got a hold of a distant granddaughter who was extremely mean and the only information she gave me was that he is alive but to not ever contact her again. So if I cant find Person B will the county take control of the property and then auction it off? We have it in escrow for the past month. they can't find him either. Yes, i am very interested in this property only, for several reasons. and i want to make sure ive done all i can do before i give up. Thank you very much to everyone for all your advice. it is very much appreciated.
     
  7. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    Why would the county take control of the property in question and auction it off?

    You've been given various options above. Frankly, this property is going to be more problems than you seem to understand. If you really want to continue, contact an attorney.
     
  8. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    People in pursuit of property will ignore various and sundry warning signs to "snatch" the perfect place, at the perfect price.

    If buying ANYTHING is complicated, one is best served by "walking away".

    If you found THIS one, there are plenty MORE available.
     
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  9. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    No. There is no reason why the county would get involved (except that the courts are county-based). Re-read "Tax Counsel's" prior response. Person A would have to file a lawsuit against Person B for something called partition. Essentially, it is a lawsuit that says, "Person A and Person B jointly own real property. Person A cannot persuade Person B to sell or cannot locate Person B, so the court should order that the property be sold at auction." Person A will have to make reasonable efforts to locate Person B to serve Person B. If Person B cannot be located despite reasonable efforts, the court may order that service can be effected by publishing the summons in a newspaper of general circulation. All of this is going to cost several thousand dollars. I would imagine Person A will expect you to pay these costs.

    I'm surprised any legitimate title or escrow company would open an escrow when one of the two owners of the property is not a party to the escrow agreement.

    I suggest you confer with a local real property attorney.
     
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  10. Kathy Saltrick

    Kathy Saltrick Law Topic Starter New Member

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    The county attorney wants the people that are living on the property gone. (Person A) its been a thorn in the countys side since 2014. They dont care who gets it they just want the property cleaned up and the residents out. It belongs to a friend of mines aunt. and its a 1.25 acre for a really good price. We talked to the county attorney and he is willing to work with us on whatever needs to be done to get the property. So we asked him to look for Person B as he would have alot more access to records then we would. But he was no help in that department as he said he couldnt find him. It makes me think that if Person B cant be found that the county would get it and then it would be auctioned off. Because they were going to take it from her because of fines she owed and her not showing up for court etc...then we stepped in and said we are buying it and put it into escrow. But Person B has not been found, and im afraid that the county is going to take it away from her anyways and then auction it off. she has to go back to court in november and im not sure what will happen then.
     
  11. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    Then I suggest you cancel the purchase and the escrow (because the seller cannot provide good title) and let the county take the property. When the county puts it out for auction you can bid on it along with everybody else.
     
  12. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    Ok, but if Person A owns the property, the county attorney has no business getting him out unless he's committing a crime. It's his property. Whether he's a pain in the butt makes no difference.

    There's got to be more going on here than you've explained because there's no apparent reason why a county attorney would be involved in something like this.

    A county attorney might have better ability than you to locate someone within the county or maybe in neighboring counties, but you apparently don't even know if Person B is even in Arizona. And, as I wrote previously, anyone can be found.

    Ok, now this makes more sense.

    If it goes to auction, that may be to your benefit.

    I strongly suggest you consult with a local real estate attorney because the situation is beyond what folks on the internet can help you with.
     
  13. Kathy Saltrick

    Kathy Saltrick Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Thank you to everyone who gave me such good advice. I will probably give up on this property even though it was such a good deal. but again i thank each and every one
    of you for taking the time to read and answer my post.
     
  14. Kathy Saltrick

    Kathy Saltrick Law Topic Starter New Member

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    If anyone can be found do you wanna give it a try? ill give you his name and you can find him for me? just a thought...
     
  15. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    It will cost you NOTHING to wait until the county seizes the property.

    When (IF) it goes to auction, you MIGHT save a great deal of money.

    To reward the deadbeat now with your hard earned money, ONLY to have the property seized later by the government, will be most unsettling and expensive for you.
     
  16. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    Finding people is not my job and, even if it were, I'd need more than a name. If you want to pursue this, set up a consultation with a local real estate attorney, and he/she can probably recommend a private investigator who can try and track down the guy.
     
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  17. PayrollHRGuy

    PayrollHRGuy Well-Known Member

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    And keep in mind, you may spend a bunch of money finding the guy and he may still refuse to sign anything.
     
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  18. Kathy Saltrick

    Kathy Saltrick Law Topic Starter New Member

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    The county attorney was going to dismiss the fines because they were more then the property was worth. he just wanted her and her junk out of there. we would not be responsible for the fines she owed.
    Yes, you are right. Thank you
    Thank you
     

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