How Does a Quiet Title Action Work in Probate?
Lawyers file quiet title actions in Superior Court in Arizona. The Judge determines who owns title to the real property that is the subject of the dispute, or who has an interest in the property.
The Example of Joe Bob and a Quiet Title Action
For example: Joe Bob still lives at home with his mom. He’s 47 years old. The deed of Joe Bob’s mother lists just he and his mother. Joe Bob thinks that when mom dies, he automatically gets the home.
This is not always true. If Joe Bob and his mom own the home together as joint tenants with rights of survivorship, then he will get the home when his mother passes away. However, the result will likely be different if Joe Bob does not have rights of survivorship, especially if there are other children.
Let’s say same scenario but Joe Bob does not have rights of survivorship. Mom dies without a will. Joe Bob’s mom has five children, including Joe Bob. If the state intestate laws direct mom’s estate to be divided equally among the living children, Joe Bob does not keep the home. He might if his siblings allow him to do so. Usually the siblings want to sell the home and distribute the proceeds equally as indicated in the intestate laws in this example. This would likely go through the probate process. Arizona law requires probate if real property exceeds $100,000.
If Joe Bob won’t leave the home, then his siblings can file a lawsuit in court referred to earlier as a quiet title action.
Joe Bob’s siblings decide to take Joe Bob to court for a quiet title action. They don’t know how to file a quiet title action, so they hire a lawyer named Larry. If Larry is savvy and is looking out for his client’s, then he will mail a letter to Joe Bob with a quit claim deed and $5. Then Larry would wait 20 days for Joe Bob to sign the quit claim deed and give up trying to secure a full interest in the property (he does have one-fifth after all).
ATTORNEY’S FEES IN A QUIET TITLE ACTION
If Joe Bob doesn’t sign the quit claim deed, then Larry can bring a quiet title action in court. If the siblings prevail, then Larry’s keen lawyering set his clients up for possible attorney fees.
Lawyers file quiet title action when:
1) a person signed a deed but they did not have the ability to consent (lacked legal capacity)
2) There’s competing claims for interest in property or boundaries of real property
3) Forged deeds
If you have a situation that may fit Joe Bob’s or his siblings, or if you aren’t sure what to do in a land dispute or real property dispute, please give us a call at Probate Law Group at 480.324.8000. We would be glad to talk to you.