27 Aug CASE STUDY 6 : Fort House
Two brothers owned a home together. In fact, their late mother had given it to the brothers hoping they could both live there together for the rest of their lives. As time would tell, that never happened. Nice Brother brought his bags one weekend to move in, when Mean Brother met him on the porch and told him it was not going to happen, that this was his fort. Mean Brother told Nice Brother that if he ever stepped foot on the property again, Mean Brother would kill him. Nice Brother was unable to live there for the next 20 years. He made other arrangements but always wanted to claim his 50% undivided interest in the house. Nice Brother was then diagnosed with cancer and realized his time was limited but did not want to pass on the headache of this property to his children. He always dreamed of leaving them something, but not this hassle. In Texas, the Property Code, which is the set of codified laws that effect real estate, makes provision for what is called “tenants in common,” or “co-tenants”. It effectively makes the co-owners to the property business partners and that all owners share an equal right to use, access the equity, and occupy property. Additionally, each owner has the right to buy or sell their or others’ shares in the same property independently. However, title companies will not allow it so a special uninsured sale with a title abstract is the only way those “shares,” or undivided interests, can be sold or traded. This type of sale cannot happen with traditional lending. Nice Brother contacted ARP through a referral in the neighborhood and was able to sell his interest in the property for cash to ARP. This allowed Nice Brother to leave money to his children after his death and prevent them from being the so-called “business partners” with Mean Brother.