Is there a storm brewing over your property purchase?

When you purchase a piece of property, you want to make sure that no one can come knocking on your door saying they have a right to it. As part of the purchase process, your mortgage lender may have required you to obtain a title search before agreeing to give you any money. 

You may have wondered what this was but shrugged it off as just part of the deal. Then, you find out that someone else may actually have a legal claim to the property you want to buy. What do you do now?

Dark clouds have gathered over the property

These claims, which can include old mortgages, heirs of a prior owner who never received notice of the death or old tax liens, could place “clouds” on the title. These clouds can prevent you from truly owning the property, and you would more than likely not be able to receive title insurance as a result.

Quieting the storm

This is where a quiet title action comes into play. In such a court proceeding, you ask the court to “quiet” all other claims to the property. Essentially, the court rules that, from the entry date of the order, any prior claims of ownership to the property no longer exist.

Going through this process can be especially important after a tax or foreclosure sale. Previous owners, lenders and taxing authorities may be able to come back at a later time and stake a claim to the property otherwise. A successful quiet title action ensures that you have complete legal ownership of the property.

Facilitating the winds of change

Nearly every quiet title action involves the following steps:

  • The filing of a petition with the court
  • Notification of all defendants
  • Wait for the defendants’ response time to run

If no one responds to the action, the court clears your title by default. You may wonder how much it will cost you to have this done. It will vary, depending on the circumstances and your location. However, the upfront costs of settling these matters are often much less than dealing with a problem that could arise in the future.

Once you receive an order from the court, you may need to take additional steps in order to clean up the real estate records to reflect the court’s order.

Clear skies

Once you take these steps, you can proceed with your purchase, knowing that you will come out of it with full, unchallenged ownership of the property. That is, if you handled everything properly. In order to help ensure that nothing goes wrong, you may want to bring in someone experienced in real estate matters and quiet title actions.

Divorce as an older adult and Social Security benefits

There are many critical issues that older people have to address before, during and after their divorce. Life changes in many ways when a marriage is brought to an end and these changes are often especially difficult later in life. Aside from issues involving children and the division of marital property, older adults have many other unique considerations, such as Social Security benefits. In fact, many people are able to receive benefits on their former spouse’s record, so long as certain conditions are met.

For starters, people become eligible to receive Social Security benefits when they reach the age of 62. Some people assume that filing for a divorce will disqualify them from receiving any Social Security benefits from their former spouse’s record. However, if a marriage lasted for at least 10 years, people are often able to obtain these critical benefits and move forward in their lives. Moreover, many people are able to gain access to Social Security survivor benefits after their former spouse passes away.

Social Security benefits are a lifeline for many older adults. Some are no longer able to work and they need this income to help with medical costs, bills and many other expenses that arise. This is just one issue that older adults must look into when bringing their marriage to an end. Unfortunately, some people do not realize that they are eligible to receive these benefits, which highlights the importance of careful research and planning with respect to the divorce process. Explore our website to read about other issues that affect older adults during a divorce.

Guardianship Abuse and Neglect

With baby boomers hitting the retirement age in droves, this is something that is extremely important for friends and family members. State appointed guardians are paid to protect the elderly person/s that they represent. Too often however, we have people running into a situation where these people are stealing from and/or neglecting the very people that they are supposed to be taking care of. In this article, you will see examples of elderly people being taken for all they’re worth, being torn from their family and friendship circles. or just flat out neglected. If you or someone you know has an elderly parent, friend, or loved one, you should do whatever you can to ensure that their guardian is a close family member or friend. Avoiding the state appointed options at all cost is in the best interest of everyone involved.

Unmarried Individuals Sharing Assets and Cohabiting

This was a great article addressing the rise in unmarried couples, over the age of 50, who are cohabiting. As the number rises, we need to be stress the importance of still being prepared for your retirement through setting goals and planning whether your personal life has taken a turn or not. When unmarried people are living together and sharing assets, there can be a rise in family tension upon the death or illness to one of the two individuals. Avoiding the loss of assets and having specific beneficiaries selected for specific roles and entitlements is a good practice to ensure that your family and hard earned assets stay within your estate.