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MIL is co owner of the property we live on. I just want security

Discussion in 'Joint Ownership' started by Ms. Jackson, May 20, 2022.

  1. Ms. Jackson

    Ms. Jackson Law Topic Starter New Member

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    When my husband was a very young man, before we were together, his parents divorced. His mother didn't have enough credit to buy his dad out so she manipulated her son into co-signing. I'm not sure what the deal is called, but it's something like this: They are equal owners, if one passes on, the other gets full ownership. This deal tied up his credit and for many years he felt that he could not afford to buy us a place. We ended up putting a house on the property (several acres) and have lived here for over 25 years. I am co owner of our house but not the land.

    About 10 years ago her house burned and she moved to town, but still is co owner even though she got a fat payout from the insurance for the fire. Since then, my husband and I have transformed the grounds, it is our home, our children's heritage and they love it.

    It makes me angry that MIL took advantage of her own son like that, even before he had a chance to strike out on his own. It is an insult that I am not owner with my husband on property that we lovingly curate together. One time, my husband had to apply for a home equity loan and the property was being used for collateral and he had to take her to the bank instead of me. That makes me sick.

    I've brought the subject up with my husband many times and even though I adore him, this does indeed cause resentment. He is extremely reluctant to even bring up the subject with her. I do not trust her. I do not feel secure. If something were to happen to him, what would that old schemer do? I don't know. She has 4 other kids, and some of them are as greedy and petty as she is.

    I wonder what my options are. I do not know where to begin. This is something I want very much to resolve, it will bring much peace to me. Best outcome would be for me to be put on as an owner as well, second best outcome would be to have her name my children in her will as benefactors of our homestead, guaranteeing that her other kids never get a chance to swoop in . What are my rights and is there anything I can do? We talk about building a new house here, where we have beautiful gardens and trails and such, and that would indeed be ideal, but I'm not building my dream home on sketchy ground. Yes, we could move now at this point, but again, it is our home, we have worked hard on it, and I would like to continue to build our children's heritage here. Thank you!
     
  2. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    No human is capable of predicting what another human will or will not do.

    No stranger can describe your rights relative to real estate.

    I suggest you consult any licensed Michigan family law or real estate attorney to determine any real property rights that exist or don't exist relative to the home in which you reside.

    I suspect you'll discover more troubling, disturbing matters.

    That said, the truth does open one's eyes!!!
     
  3. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    You aren't. The house became part of the land. Your husband and his mother own it, not you.

    If they own it jointly with right of survivorship and he dies before she does, it all goes to her.

    Apparently, your husband isn't concerned with any of that.

    Congratulations, you've got a real Mama's boy there. If push comes to shove, he'll shove you under the bus and not her.

    No way to predict, other than she would own the property. If she feels about you the way you feel about her, your days on that property would be numbered.

    You begin by getting a copy of the deed from the county records so you can see exactly how the ownership reads.

    Yes, that's the best outcome. And it may come as a surprise to you that he might not need his mother's approval to do it. He should be able to execute, and record, a quitclaim deed granting his interest to him and you as grantees. That would give you a 1/3 ownership.

    I suggest you secretly consult an attorney to learn how that works, get the appropriate document prepared and demand that your husband complete it. You'll find out real fast where his allegiance is.

    Yeah, like that's ever gonna happen.

    Pretty much none, unless you want a divorce. Then you have plenty of rights. Of course, chances are you won't live there anymore but you'd walk away with money. Talk to a lawyer about that if you like.

    Don't. Not until and unless you are on the deed.

    What does your husband say about that? Is he willing to move and cross his mother? Or is he just placating you? Big question there.
     
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  4. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    So...let's stop here for a moment and recognize that, while you are accusing her of "manipulating" your husband, you weren't there and so don't have any idea what actually happened. That's not a criticism, but I think it's important to recognize that, if we're going to discuss events of which you have no personal knowledge, negative conclusory allegations might not be the way to go.

    More to the point...co-signing what?

    There's no "if" here. They both will die. What you're referring to is a joint tenancy with the right of survivorship.

    Well...there's no such thing as separate ownership of land and a house built on the land. Unless what you're referring to as a "house" is actually a mobile home (which, in most states, is titled in the same way as motor vehicles), then your husband and mother-in-law are the owners of the land and all permanent structures on the land.

    If both she and your husband are joint owners of the property, the insurance payment should have been made to them jointly. Did that not happen?

    Was he an adult when this happened? How old was he? Again, if you want to cast aspersions, you ought to provide some actual facts.

    Sigh.... You willingly married him. You willingly made your home on this property that he jointly owns with his mother. Whatever you have "curated" [sic] was a voluntary choice made by you.

    What exactly do you expect/want him to do?

    You haven't articulated any sort of legal issue that requires resolution.

    Option #1: Divorce your husband.
    Option #2: Stay married and accept the situation and move on with your life.
    Option #3: Stay married and try to convince your husband to move to a different property.

    Your husband is free to transfer his (presumably) 50% interest from himself to you and him jointly. You can also try to convince his mother to transfer some of her interest to you. However, if she holds you in the same contempt that you obviously hold her, I wouldn't expect she'd be receptive to that.

    That's entirely up to her.

    Like everyone else, you have dozens of legal rights, and attempting to list them would serve no useful purpose. Again, you haven't articulated any sort of legal issue.

    Only if he expressly gives the OP a 1/3 interest and retains the rest of his interest for himself. If he conveys his interest (which is presumably 50%) to the OP and him jointly, then the OP would own a 25% interest (50% of 50%).
     
  5. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    Ouch. I had a brain fart.

    :oops:
     
  6. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    LOL!
     
  7. Ms. Jackson

    Ms. Jackson Law Topic Starter New Member

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    [QUOTE="adjusterjack, post: 333729, member: 110951






    You begin by getting a copy of the deed from the county records so you can see exactly how the ownership reads.

    Thank you for this, it's a good and easy way to start. I will have that in my hands on Monday morning. I'm also going to show him this entire thread and let him know that I will hire a lawyer if I have to.

    I suggest you secretly consult an attorney to learn how that works, get the appropriate document prepared and demand that your husband complete it. You'll find out real fast where his allegiance is.

    He will gladly put me on as co owner. It needs to be done.






    What does your husband say about that? Is he willing to move and cross his mother? Or is he just placating you? Big question there.[/QUOTE]

    We could move without her busybodying into our business. We have made this place really nice since she moved away and we would like to stay here. But moving is a far better alternative than not having something of my own and the uncertainty that comes along with the situation that we are in. Husband would still keep his interest in the property and we would either rent the house or one of our kids could live here if they wanted to.
     
  8. Ms. Jackson

    Ms. Jackson Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Thanks for the replies, I feel like I have a starting point now. I feel much better about the situation already.
     
  9. Ms. Jackson

    Ms. Jackson Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Another question: Once my husband puts me on the deed, is there any way we can protect the property for our children in case MIL outlives my husband and me? Is there some type of trust we can set up so that our children will still inherit at least our portion of the farm in the event that she somehow outlives us?
     
  10. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    Once you and your husband are joint owners of his share, a will or a trust would work. Consult an estate planning attorney for that.
     
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  11. Disabled Vet

    Disabled Vet Well-Known Member

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    The big question I think folks are missing... Who is PAYING for this land? Sounds like the son was just a co-signer on the loan. So the mother-in-law has been making the land payments.... So unless the son coughs up some money to his mother. He gets NOTHING..
     
  12. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    Vet's response gave me an idea.

    Why don't you and your husband take out a new loan to buy out his mother's interest. The new loan will pay off what's left, if anything, of the old loan.
     
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  13. Ms. Jackson

    Ms. Jackson Law Topic Starter New Member

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    The land is free and clear. She made payments for maybe about 10 years and we paid the rest when she stopped working.
     
  14. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    Call your bank or a mortgage broker, see how much of a loan you qualify for, then buy out her interest.

    Simple solution to all of your issues.
     
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  15. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    A buyout can only occur if the other party is interested in selling.

    I'm guessing darling, mommy dearest isn't interested in selling.

    That said, what the heck do I know?
     
  16. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    I've been asking myself the same question.

    What do you know?

    (That's a joke. Please take it as such.)

    LOL.
     
  17. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    No problem, amigo!
     
  18. Disabled Vet

    Disabled Vet Well-Known Member

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    So, your husband needs to pay her for the 10 years she paid. Plus, the land prices have gone out the roof. The fair thing is simple. Get the land appraised and pay his mother back. Simple...
     
  19. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    Maybe Mom will give the friends and family discount.
     
  20. Zigner

    Zigner Well-Known Member

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    Frankly, you are the only one I am seeing as "greedy and petty" in this matter. Others have already suggested professional legal help, so I'm going to suggest professional psychological help so that you can move beyond this resentment of such an important part of your husband's life.
     
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