Title Search Gone Wrong

Jul 28, 2020

My title search came in and there were recent deaths in the chain of title where folks had died without a will (intestate). That meant tracking down heirs. Depending on what year you die, part of the Virginia Code dictates succession. In this case there was a child born of a union, prior to the new wife. That means that child has interest. To make it even better, the heir has purportedly signed a deed conveying his interest out. However, the deed wasn’t done properly and the signature was suspicious enough for us to require a deed of correction. The brother of the dead person who was trying to sell the property to a builder had the son of the deceased call so we could make arrangements to have the deed of correction signed. All sounds great, right? It goes downhill from there.

The first call with the son was fine. He had no problem signing the deed of correction. Then he called back to have me meet him as a notary to sign in Suffolk. I arranged for a very public place, let my boss and husband known where I would be and agreed to go. The brother selling the property was also going to be there. I explained I would require proper photo ID in order to notarize the document and went.

Once there, the son asked me to explain why I needed the deed of correction…and then asked if that meant he would not get his father’s share of the proceeds. I explained why I needed the new deed in order to insure the new owners and left the brother to explain the money part. Apparently the girlfriend of the son had advised him (no she’s not an attorney) that he was due some money. That they couldn’t sell without his signature and he was owed his father’s estate.  I let them know they needed to work it out and when he was ready to sign, please let me know. I wasn’t an attorney and couldn’t advise him. 

He didn’t sign that day. He did change his story. At the beginning, he has signed the deed that was done incorrectly and had no problem signing the new deed. That changed to someone had forged his name to the incorrect deed and he was due his father’s estate. At that point, we had to tell the builder and seller’s we couldn’t handle the transaction anymore and they needed to seek legal counsel. I couldn’t insure something that may or may not have a forgery in it. I have no idea if they ever worked it out, but I can tell you I certainly didn’t close them!



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