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by CHARLENE PERRY | 2012/07/03 |

I swear this is a true story.  I cannot make this stuff up, I'm not that imaginative!!


I had a gentleman come into my office yesterday who wanted me to do two simple deeds for him.  Or so he thought!!  As he and I sat discussing these two properties he needed new deeds on the story unfolds as follows:

The client, John, owned two parcels with a business partner, Frank; John and Frank have owned these properties as joint tenants since the early 1980's.  In May,2012, John decided that for estate planning purposes he wanted to sever the joint tenancy and create a tenancy in common with Frank.  Frank agreed to this and new deeds are drawn executed and recorded.  So, now John and Frank are tenants in common, their partnership remains intact and really nothing much has changed except that John is assured that his children will benefit from this estate planning tool. 

AND THEN, in June, 2012, Frank is murdered!! Seriously!! Frank owned several businesses and one of his businesses was robbed, he was killed in the robbery.  ENTER THE VULTURES!

Frank was a wealthy businessman with many assets.  He leaves no wife or children behind and he leaves no will.  His parents have been appointed as Personal Representatives of his Estate and are in the midst of administering the estate; etc.  John, who has known these folks for years, goes to them and says, "hey, I need to get these properties back into my name solely, will you sign a Deed over to me?  The properties are both encumbered by small mortgages, which I will pay off, I just need a new deed" . 

The vultures response;  YUP, give me $15K per property and pay off the underlying the debt and the properties are all yours!! "

So now what should have been two simple deeds has resulted in John having to go through actual settlement transactions on both parcels as well as his personal residence to enable him to acquire the entire estate in his own name (he has to borrow money to pay the 30K to the vultures).

Some people!!  Even in the aftermath of the death of thier child these vultures are only thinking about MONEY; they have given no consideration to the fact that John and Frank had been business partners for years, that John and Frank had paid down the debt together (as part of their business) on these properties.  All they can see are the dollar signs.

I feel for John, I really do.  Had he delayed his decision to have new deeds executed he would have been sole owner, he would not have to encumber his personal residence and his family would still have been protected.  TIMING, it's all about TIMING  


625 words | 4013 views | 4 comments | log in or register to post a comment

I don't think I see it that way...

It sounds like John wanted to have his cake and eat it, too.  He wanted his heirs to get his property if he passed away, but he didn't want Frank's heirs to get his if Frank died first.  Unfortunately, it doesn't work that way.  It was Johns decision to terminate the survivorship tenancy - that means that Frank's parents, as his lawful heirs, are entitled to his interest.

Frank's parents may be entitled to half of all of the partnership property.  If they are willing to sell the property for $15K per parcel and walk away, you could say that they are being quite generous.

I guess it all depends on your perspective.

by Robert Franco | 2012/07/04 | log in or register to post a reply

You do make a good point

I don't disagree at all with your analysis.  However, I suppose that I might have reacted differently if I were the parents of Frank.  But, then, I am ever amazed at how people react when faced with the decisions to be made following the death of a loved one.  

I have had a string of transactions of late that were related to estates and the distribution out of those estates.  By and large the person administering the estates and the other affected heirs squabble over the last dollar in the estate claiming a right to receive. And, yes, they do have that right to receive.  My problem lately has been with the seemingly endless discussions with these folks relating to their "entitlement".    Given that the heirs never worked for the asset, they never managed or maintained the asset, etc., I just don't understand their feelings of entitlement.   

by CHARLENE PERRY | 2012/07/05 | log in or register to post a reply

I see it from Robert's perspective
Why should any heir of any estate simply hand over the deceased's equity in any holding?  I do agree that it seemed Frank wanted John to inherit the property because they bought the real estate as joint tenants w/rights of survivorship.  One of both of them should have had the foresight to see any contingency.  I have to wonder if Frank wouldn't have approved of the outcome.  There was expense involved in handling Frank's affairs (including, perhaps, burial which is expensive even for a modest funeral).   
by Alix Ott | 2012/07/09 | log in or register to post a reply

I agree with Robert

The partners owned the properties together. If one of them wanted to retire, the other partner would likely have to buy them out. The family is absolutely entitled to some consideration for giving up their half of ownership in these properties. Their son owned half of this partnership and left that half to his family. They are now entitled to everything Frank was originally entitled as partner. Just because money was involved doesn't mean they are vultures or all they care about is the money.

 Also, if we want to get imaginitive....consider the possibility that John arranged Frank's murder. I realize the deed change didn't affect much, but it's oddly coincidental that Frank was murdered only one month after the change. Maybe John was down on his luck and hoped to skim some of Franks wealth after his death. Possibly not true, but who knows...

by Jason Green | 2012/08/17 | log in or register to post a reply



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