Almost 3 years ago, i divorced my husband, we put in the divorce decree that if he were to die , i was the beneficiary on the house. When he got arrested, he fled the state and sold the house. When the title company reached out to me to sign off and let the house be free and clear , i did not. The realtor i believe went to a different title company and simply sold the house without my approval. Do i have a case against him for fraudulent behavior? Btw i am reposting because i never got a response, i am just wondering if this was legal what the realtor did? It’s definitely unethical , but could i sue him?
You need to take the divorce decree to family law counsel to determine your rights and any legal recourse against. Was the house awarded to him in the decree? As to a beneficiary provision if he were to die, if he got arrested and fled the state then any death beneficiary provision never really went into effect, it would seem to me. I am unsure how the decree could have worded any such beneficiary designation, or how the house could have been sold if you were still on the note and mortgage papers unless the decree awarded the house to him.
Thomas J. Baker of Baker & Tisdale PLLC principally practices in the Central Texas area, including Bell, Coryell, Lampasas, McLennan, Milam and Williamson counties. The advice given here is not and ahould not be taken as a substitute for in-personal consultation with counsel, particularly where legal documents, such as court orders need to be reviewed. I am Board-Certified in Family Law but not in any other areas of practice.
Your former husband owned the present legal and possessory interest in the house. As such, he probably had the right to sell it. But, he had a duty to disclose to the title company and the buyer any matter that could affect the ownership of the property.
You had no present possessory interest in the property, but you have a possessory interest at some point in the future (i,e. the death of your ex-spouse). This is a type of future interest. As such, you do not have a right to assert a possessory interest at this time.
Since you own no present interest in the property, you future interest rights spring up (kind of like a jack-in-the-box) upon the death of your ex-husband. This type of future interest is described as a springing executory interest. It does act as a limitation on the fee simple ownership of the property. As such, your ex-husband had a duty to discloses this to the title company. Likewise, I believe that the realtor had a legal and ethical duty to disclose this information to the title company.
There is an old concept of law that says a person who sits on his (or her) rights loses them. Since you are aware of this infringement of your future interests, you must assert these rights or, after some period of time, you may well lose them.
The primary targets for asserting your rights should be your ex-husband, the realtor, and the purchasers of the property. The purchasers will immediately file a claim under their title policy. You do not have a claim against the title company because you are not an insured party under the title insurance policy, but the purchasers are.
The title insurance company will most likely pay money to you in order to protest the interests of their insured (i.e. the purchasers) and will, in turn, seek reimbursement from you ex-husband and realtor for fraud, breach of warranty, and, possibly, perjury to the extent that made any representations to the title company under oath.
The answers provided here are merely general in nature and may not apply to every situation. They do not represent and not not constitute specific legal advise or recommendations because the advise or recommendation could change based on sprecific factual situations and/or recognized exceptions to general legal principals. An attorney should be consulted regarding the specifics of a particular case before any action is taken or not taken.
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