Updated on October 16, 2018
One of the most common cases we see are ownership disputes over title of real property. These types of disputes come in many common forms. Here are the most typical we see, although, we have seen all sorts:
1. Title in the name of one person only where another silent partner claims an interest in the property despite not being on title. This frequently occurs where one person has bad credit and two people are buying a property together. What we see is the person with good credit goes on title to the property and the purchase money loan while the person with bad credit contributes financially while remaining off title.
2. The second variation we frequently see is where two or more people are on record title but someone is claiming that someone should not be on title. Here, typically that person on title was put on title to assist with obtaining a loan, for estate planning purposes or any other number of reasons.
Now on to our 5 tips:
1. Obtain a title report or a litigation guarantee. This document will tell you who the title company believes is the legal owner of the property. A litigation guarantee is particularly useful because it is an insurance policy to protect the litigant against other people from claiming they have an interest in the property.
2. Look for supporting documents. Look for emails, notes, text messages or other written communications that support your ownership claim.
3. Don’t ignore evidence code 662. It provides a legal presumption (rebuttabal by clear and convincing evidence) that beneficial title matches record title. In other words, that the true owner is reflected by record title.
4. Get a good lawyer who knows this area of the law. The days of hiring a generalist to do very specific legal work are over. Hire someone with experience in this area of law.
5. Focus on Math. A lot of times who paid what for the property’s purchases, expenses and maintenance tell a story that is hard to beat.
At Schorr Law our attorneys have litigated ownership disputes hundreds of times. We have been to trial on ownership disputes over and over and have a proven track record. Contact us to see if you qualify for a free consultation so that we can examine your claim in more detail and brainstorm with you about the path to results.
By Zachary Schorr, esq.
See related: What is the Purpose of Title Insurance?