My brother had Mom execute a grant deed to add him as a joint tenant with rights of survivorship, but she had no idea what she was signing. Can she change the grant deed to get him off?

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My bother and I are POA for my mom. Behind my back, he went and had a will and a living trust done naming him as the executor/trustee. The will/trust benefits him and his children. I agreed to be POA to keep him honest, but he has done things without my knowledge. Now he got her to do a grant deed where he was added to the deed as joint tenant with rights of survivorship. I found out when I went the records office. My mother had no idea of what she was signing. She doesn't speak English. I feel he manipulated her to sign the form to keep everything, since we have 2 other siblings. Can she change the grant deed to get him off? I read that California law requires his signature to make any changes, is this true?

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You do need legal help, not only b/c of the legal issues but b/c of the family issues which are impacting it.

But there are a few questions first of all as to the Living Trust.

1. Whose Trust is it? Is your mother the maker (legally, "Settlor") or is it your brother? If so, he has no authority at all to execute a trust on her behalf. And if she doesn't speak English, at all, and the attorney didn't speak her language, she can't legally sign any acknowledgment that she understands the Trust.

2. Have you contacted the attorney who prepared the Trust, to see what information and/or clarification you can get as to why the Trust was executed, and whether any consideration was given to your mother's state of mind as well as her non-English speaking status?

Typically, trusts aren't executed "on the spot" or at the first meeting with an attorney. They're done after the attorney prepares the documentation. So, drafting of the trust documents must have been anticipated for some time before it was actually done. And accommodations for a translator should have been made.

3. A "grant" deed isn't a term I'm familiar with. When I worked in real estate law, I learned that there are 3 types of deeds: warranty, quit claim and a Deed C. A "grant" deed may be a state designation, and if so, unless folks here have knowledge of conveyances in your state, there's no way we can offer advice on a "grant" deed.

4. For any property to be subject to a Living Trust, the property (including real property) has to be "funded" into the Trust. The Deed needs to be titled so that the maker of the Trust transfers title from her/him individually to the Trust, specifically identifying the creator ("Settlor") of the Trust, and typically including that title vests in Successor Trustee(s) after the death of the Settlor.

5. There's another, major, serious issue about the whole transaction though. If your mother doesn't speak English, and the attorney doesn't speak her language, WHO specifically explained to her what she was signing?

If she didn't know what she was executing and didn't understand, there's an elder abuse issue which I would think should be escalated to a state level to get an agency involved. But you'll probably need an attorney to do this, and would also need that attorney to review all the documents.

6. As to a subsequent Deed to remove his name from the title, it all turns on whether the transfer deed is effective or invalid in the first place, and whether or not it can be proved that your mother understood the repercussions of her actions. Again, this is an elder abuse issue.
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Reply to GardenArtist
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Very often when people say "I am" POA or "He has" POA what they mean is they "will act as POA when my mother can no longer act in her own interests."

If your mom is still legally competent, she is still making her own decisions. If she-still legally competent- appointed him joint tenant, you will need a lawyer to get him off the deed. She can still address these issues. A consultation with an estate planning lawyer would be money well spent.

Bring your brother! I'd like to hear him explain why he and his children should be the only beneficiaries of his parents' estate when they have four children.
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Reply to Marcia7321
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igomez98, best thing to do is make an appointment with an "Elder Law Attorney" to see what can legally be done in this situation.
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Reply to freqflyer
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