We frequently field questions from clients regarding their ownership in property that has been passed down through multiple generations of family members. Issues tend to arise due to how title is held to the property. Sometimes, several members of a family own a small share of a piece of property but are unsure of their exact ownership interests. This can result in confusion and the inability to immediately sell the property to an eager buyer.
Frequently, property held by a family for generations is never deeded down the generational line. This results in a perceived gap or uncertainty in ownership. For example, a great-grandparent that purchased property in North Carolina in the early 1900s for recreational activities may have never considered how they wanted ownership in that property to pass after their death, which they would have evidenced in a Last Living Will and Testament. If that great-grandparent did not note their intentions for the property in their Will, or if they did not have a Will at their death (a concept referred to as intestacy), ownership in the property likely passed by way of intestacy, currently codified in the North Carolina Intestacy Statute at N.C.G.S. § 29. Through the years, the property may have continued to pass down through the generations, with some family members not even aware of their interests in the property.
To determine the true owner or owners of the property and their percentage of ownership, a Quiet Title Action may be necessary. This legal action calls for the court to make a determination of ownership and produce an order which denotes those that share an interest in the property. This action may be a necessary step to clear up title issues preventing the issuance of title insurance needed in a real estate transaction.
If you have a question related to Quiet Title Actions in North Carolina or you are seeking an experienced attorney to help draft a Will which accounts for your ownership in real property, the attorneys at Black, Slaughter & Black, P.A. have the experience and resources necessary to help.