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In the state of North Carolina, if a husband and wife sign a deed of trust on a property, is that considered joint ownership?

Raleigh, NC |

The property was originally in my fathers name. My mom and dad signed a deed of trust on the property and my mom had power of appoinment. When my dad passed away my mom paid the bank the remaining balance. Did that make my mom the sole owner of the property? My dad left a will saying how he wanted the property divided amongst family. I don't believe, if the deed of trust gave them joint ownership, he could give the property away. They would both have to agree, right? Now my mom has passed away and left no will. My brother and I are the only children. Was my mom the sole owner at the time of her death, and without a will, wouldn't it go to her direct decendents( my brother and I)? My family is now trying to claim the property after my mom's passing with my father's will. HELP! Thank you.

My brother and I have already recieved a deed for the property from a lawyer who reviewed my fathers will, and the deed of trust that was in my mother and father's name. I don't see how our lawyer could have drawn up a property deed for my brother and I if we didn't have the right to the property? With these exact circumstances does the property rightfully go to my brother and myself? I dont see how they can use my father's will for my mother's death? I sincerely appreciate anyone's time who trys to help answer my questions.

Attorney Answers 2


In North Carolina a Deed of Trust is used to pledge real property to secure a loan. If your dad purchased real estate in his sole name and borrowed money to purchase the property, the lender may have required your mom's signature on the deed of trust in order to ensure that your mother's marital interest in the property did not take priority over the lender's secured interest. The fact that your mother signed the deed of trust does not by itself give your mother an interest in the property. If the property was held solely in your dad's name at his death, his will would determine who received the property. You mentioned that your mother had a power of appointment, but it is not clear from these facts if she had the power to appoint the persons who would receive the property in question. It is important that you meet with an attorney who practices in the area of wills and trusts to review the deed and your father's last will and testament to determine who the rightful owners of the property are.

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You really should address these questions to the attorney who reviewed your father's will and prepared the deed that was sent to you. He/she has knowledge of a lot more facts than you presented, and I suspect that there is a lot more out there to know. A deed of trust suggests that the property was held in a trust (that is, owned by a trust with your parents as trustees). If it was held in a trust, then the trust would dictate the inheritance of the asset and neither your father's Will nor your mother's Will would have any effect on that. Again, if title was in a trust and not your parent's names, the fact that your mother paid off the mortgage wouldn't change anything. You should contact the attorney ASAP and ask him/her to explain the documents to you. Please accept my sympathies on your loss, and my best wishes to you and your brother as you deal with this difficult situation.

This response contemplates only the laws of Ohio and is not intended to apply to other jurisdictions. None of the information in this response should be used or relied upon as legal advice or legal opinion about specific matters, facts, situations or issues. Viewing it does not establish an attorney-client relationship between you and Sherrille D. Akin, the law firm of Isaac, Brant, Ledman & Teetor LLP, or any of its individual attorneys

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