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My brother is trying to kick me out of the house our parents gave to both of us. What can I do to stop or hinder this?

Whittier, CA |

My brother and I inherited our parents house. We both lived there but then he basically moved into his girlfriend's apartment. They now want to move back into the house and kick me out.

We had refinanced the house. The loan was solely in his name and in the process I signed my half ownership to him. It was understood that we were still going to share ownership. We have both been paying half the mortgage. I have paid a significant amount in maintenance on the house and live there with my five year old child.

What kind of options do I have? Can I assert any ownership rights? Can I put a lien for the amounts that I "subcontracted" for maintaining the property? Any other thoughts you might have?


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Attorney answers 3


Putting title in his name without some written agreement as to your ownership interests was very unwise.

Are there any emails etc as to what your interest in the property was intended to

You probably will need to bring a legal action to reform the deed, impose a constructive trust and to partition or sell the property etc, or you will likely be out of the house and lose any interest in the property.

George Wolff


This is NOT legal advice, just a general discussion of the law, as we are not familiar with the specific documents and facts of your case, etc. Please consult with a competent attorney in this area of the law for specific legal advice regarding your particular case, as the advice may vary depending on the facts.


As Attorney Wolff indicates, transferring ownership to your brother without documentation as to what was suppose to happen was not wise on your part.

You may still be able to assert ownership rights but you will have to bring a lawsuit to impose a constructive trust, for quiet title and/or partition and sale. This is not a simple (nor inexpensive) process, but it can be done and can be won if you have sufficient documentary evidence.

Frank W. Chen has been licensed to practice law in California since 1988. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice for a particular case. This posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For specific advice about your particular situation, consult with your own attorney.


Good advice from Attorney Wolff. The hundreds you saved by not having a lawyer to begin with will now be offset by the thousands (or tens of thousands) that this dispute may cost you. Is your equity worth the cost of the fight?
n my experience it is more important to have a written agreement with family and friends than it is with strangers.

DISCLAIMER: The forgoing comment is for general educational purposes only, and is not legal advice upon which the reader may rely as the commenter has no actual knowledge of the facts of the case, has not interviewed persons or examined evidence, and has not researched the applicable law. The comment is based only on the facts provided, which are extremely limited, and may or may not be true. Complete defenses may prevent the success of any claim. Competent legal advice should always be obtained before taking any legal action or filing suit. Readers employ any information provided herein at their own risk.