Boookay, Home Seller in 08610

What does a deed that states primary and secondary persons mean.?

Asked by Boookay, 08610 Tue Jul 7, 2009

My father passed away a few years ago he owned a home with his girlfriend. He is the primary owner and she is the secondary owner. She just passed a few months ago. I want to sell the home and is having problems with the girlfriends daughter. Can I sell the home on my own, with my father being the primary owner?

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Butty Meat T…, Home Seller, Mississippi County, AR
Mon Apr 23, 2012
yes it is right sell that shet like u sell that ah
0 votes
William Leigh…, , New Jersey
Wed Jul 8, 2009
Bookay: Why you have Massachusetts agents answering a NJ question, I'll never understand. I'm a property owner in 08610 myself!

Having griped about that, I must say that Greer is one smart lady and has nailed the question. There are so many ways that this could have been set up. I have never heard of "primary and secondary" ownership of real estate. It's a new one on me and I've owned property and inherited property since 1960! That's not to say that it is not something that is done in New Jersey, just that it isn't the most common thing you see.

I understand that in auto sales, you can have a "secondary" position in the debt and that you pay only after the primary debtor fails to do so. This is not the case with mortgages. If you are on the mortgage, you owe and the mortgage company can go after you first, if you are easier to find and deal with.

In real estate, as far as I know, there are three forms of ownership beyond single ownership. Common ownership means you can sell your share and give it to heirs. Joint ownership usually comes with the survivor(s) getting the property upon the death of the first owner to die. (That’s what your father and his girlfriend might have had.) Finally there is entirety ownership, where the surviving spouse gets the entire property at the death of their mate. In practical terms joint and entirety work the same way, the survivor gets the property.

So, with those forms in mind, your description is puzzling. You need an attorney to advise you as to what the true nature of the situation is. My suspicion is that you may be out in the cold.

If a "life estate" to the property was set up in the woman’s interest, upon her death it would go to the "remainder man." That person is usually named in the deed that sets up the life estate. This is another possibility but Realtors are not allowed to practice law and this situation looks to me to be one where investigation for documents, interpretation of them and then action to clear the title are all involved. These are all "lawyer time" actions.

Best of luck with it.
0 votes
Flag Mon Apr 23, 2012
Greer Swiston, Agent, Newton, MA
Tue Jul 7, 2009
It would be best for you to work with an attorney because it would really be a legal matter. Did your father have a will? Did his girlfriend?

Did she have right of survivorship? If she died after he did, it's quite possible that she became the sole owner of the property and therefore when she died, the property became a part of her estate. Did you become a partial property owner when your father died?

As I said before, this would be best be interpretted by an attorney. I think it totally depends on how the title of the property was worded and how his "estate" was settled when your father died.
0 votes
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Flag Mon Apr 23, 2012
Tracy Tetrea…, , Cranston, RI
Tue Jul 7, 2009
This is a legal question and you need to seek legal advice from an attorney.
Good luck!!
0 votes
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Flag Mon Apr 23, 2012
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