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.
You should not act upon any information contained in this website without first seeking legal counsel to thoroughly review the specific facts and circumstances of your case. This is not to be considered as a solicitation for legal services in any particular matter or as an invitation to establish an attorney-client relationship as to any particular matter. An attorney-client relationship with our firm and its lawyers is established only after a specific engagement has been expressly agreed to between our firm and a client through direct person-to-person communication. The content of any email sent to Wiggen Law Group PLLC via this website will not create an attorney-client relationship and will not be treated as confidential.
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