A will dictates who receives the deed to property when someone passes away. Unfortunately, sometimes things like the title deed can get misplaced or lost in the shuffle. When this occurs, it’s not always clear who the property should be given to, and the probate court might give the property to the wrong person who then sells the property. If the deed is found later and a claim is filed, the new owner could be facing serious damages as the result of the conflicting will.
In addition to conflicts that may arise when a deed is not present, there have also been cases in which the deceased party had two wills with conflicting information regarding heirs. In these cases, it’s common for one will to come up immediately following the homeowner’s demise, and the other one may not surface for a considerable amount of time.
Conflicting wills can, obviously, lead to numerous problems when selling or buying real estate. Most lenders require buyers to purchase a loan policy to protect their investment should a conflicting will or other claim against the title arise. It’s important to note, though, that this policy provides no protection to the buyer.
In a recent case where a home was given to the wrong brother by the court, the brother to whom the home was willed produced the deed 20 years later – long after the other brother had sold the home to someone else. The court ruled in favor of the brother named in the will, and the new owners were forced to leave. They did not have an owner’s title policy, and they faced a significant loss as a result.
Protecting Your Investment Against a Conflicting Will
Purchasing an owner’s title policy is the only way to protect yourself against claims against your title. When you purchase one of these policies, a title company, such as Shore Title, agrees to represent you in court should a claim or defect arise and cover your expenses in the event of a loss.
If you’re purchasing a home or other real property, don’t risk facing problems like conflicting wills. Contact us at 609-263-7472 today to find out more about protecting your investment.