A woman in our Oakland office needed help with her real-estate situation. Her husband had died and his name needed to be removed from the title of her home.
Usually when a husband and wife hold title together, it’s very easy to clear the title after a person dies, and it’s handled with a single, easy document.
Not so fast. First of all, the property was a triplex–one family lived in each unit, and they all owned one-third of the building. They didn’t have anything formal drawn up, but they all had known each other for decades and didn’t need anything formal. It worked for them.
The real problem was that our client had previously gone to an unqualified, unlicensed provider to remove the dead spouse’s name from the title. English is my client’s second language, and she still struggles with it, so she was duped by a totally incompetent provider who recorded multiple erroneous documents with the County Recorder and charged her a lot of money for this service!
After a deed is recorded, the County Assessor’s office checks them out and changes the ownership on the tax rolls. So when this poor woman’s transfers made their way across the Assessment Clerk’s desk, the clerk was so horrified by the quality of the provider’s work that she called the client directly and urged her to call my office and ask for me by name, assuring her that we were reputable professionals who would be able to help her.
Deeds can’t be taken back after they are filed, so we were stuck with the deeds that had been recorded by the bad actor. We had to come up with a very creative solution to our client’s problem. We had the all three families in to discuss and figure out a solution–which worked for everyone, without the need for court involvement.
This is a story with a happy ending—thanks to the Assessment Clerk for her confidence in our problem-solving skills!