Real Estate Law: Any Benefits To Us Getting Married Early?
March 30, 2014 1:25 PM   Subscribe

YANL, YANML. I presently am on the deed to a house with a family member. We are joint tenants with full rights of survivorship. My family member holds the mortgage note entirely in his name. Other members of my family are becoming increasingly more aggressive in regards to me moving the mortgage into my name (which may not financially/credit wise be feasible). My question is that I'm planning to get married later next month. Is there any benefit to me - to protect my interests in the property - to get married sooner?

Other miscellany: I live in Florida. I also think that my family members POA may be trying to do some kind of yucky, sneaky stuff (like create debt in my family members name in order to gain access to assets sooner or to try to make me and my fiancé appear to be tenants renting the house). To be clear, I am named on the deed.
posted by splitinfinitive to Law & Government (9 answers total)
My family member holds the mortgage note entirely in his name. Other members of my family are becoming increasingly more aggressive in regards to me moving the mortgage into my name

Why? The answer to that question is going to affect what you should do in regards to this property.

But this really sounds like a lawyer question; I'm not sure what cost/benefit would come from when you get married that would require you to move it up by four weeks.

But really: lawyer. Especially if your power-of-attorney person is acting hinky.
posted by emjaybee at 1:34 PM on March 30 [2 favorites]

Promise not to threadsit. POA is sole executor of the family members estate/trust and stands to inherit everything. As I understand it presently, if the other person on the deed were to pass away his estate would pay off the mortgage. I believe this all has to do with money (unfortunately. Families do terrible things to each other over money). I do also plan to contact an attorney in the AM.
posted by splitinfinitive at 1:42 PM on March 30

If this is how your family member set it up, then it's very obvious what his goal was. Which is to leave you the house free and clear when he dies. I would just keep repeating that to your other family members, calmly and confidently.

"This is obviously how he wanted it to be. I do not plan to go against his wishes."

Just keep saying it. Don't argue, don't discuss, don't get upset. Just keep repeating.
posted by raisingsand at 1:50 PM on March 30

I am not a lawyer, but I agree with raisingsand: it looks to me as you describe it that your family member (who I assume is older and ailing, to judge from the fact that he now is represented by a POA) set up this situation so that you would inherit the house without any debt. You have, as I see it, nothing to gain from being added to the mortgage and should resist. I would encourage you though to see a lawyer to clarify the situation.

The issue of your marriage appears to me to be a red herring: the real question is whether you, either single or as part of a married couple, should be added to the mortgage at all.
posted by crazy with stars at 2:02 PM on March 30 [1 favorite]

You are not going to own the house free and clear when the family member dies, and if he intends to leave the house to someone else in his will, this is not a problem that can be solved without lawyers. I would not assume anything without talking to a lawyer, including that being "on the deed" will give you any particular share of the house's value.
posted by deadweightloss at 2:10 PM on March 30 [1 favorite]

Whoa. I am not your lawyer but I am a lawyer in Florida. There is right and wrong advice in this thread already. The RIGHT advice is to talk to a Florida lawyer. The Bar's referral service is here:
posted by easement1 at 2:50 PM on March 30 [4 favorites]

joint tenants with full rights of survivorship....POA is sole executor of the family members estate/trust and stands to inherit everything

So the family member owns the home jointly with you and debt the debt is solely theirs, to be paid in full from their estate upon their death? If the POA can transfer the mortgage to you the POA will get a larger inheritance and you will owe money on the house you live in. Does the family member understand their own intentions (the POA made me wonder if there was cognitive issues)? Is your time as caregiver being compensated? I think you need to see a lawyer and possibly have the POA looked at by a lawyer for your family member.
posted by saucysault at 2:54 PM on March 30

You need to speak to a lawyer. Getting married now or in a bit has no relevance. Do not take on the mortgage. It sounds like the family member wants you to inherit the house free and clear but if the person with the POA can reduce the value of the estate such that it cannot cover the outstanding mortgage this will not work out in your favour.
posted by saradarlin at 3:30 PM on March 30 [1 favorite]

Not your lawyer and you need Florida specific legal advice. However, it is generally the rule that a mortgage creates an encumbrance on the underlying property which would not be extinguished by the death of a joint tenant. The survivor takes the ownership interest but the property would remain subject to the debt. There is a potential benefit in being named on the mortgage since in the event of the death of the current/primary payer you would not be faced with obtaining substitute financing. Marriage would not seem to affect the basic rights between you, the joint owner and the mortgage holder. Go get competent Florida legal advice.
posted by uncaken at 6:24 PM on March 30 [1 favorite]

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