I know this is one big mess. Maybe I am not explaining things very well also. When Mom passed away my dad had the house deeded to all of his children but that he would be able to live there as long as he lives. So the way I understand is that the property already belongs to the children (us).
So my brother is divorced and wanted to move in with dad and he decided he would like to buy the property from us (his siblings). So my brother ask all of us to sign the deed that he drew up and we agreed to sign it all but one sibling. And he hasn't ask her to sign. My brother now seems to have lost interest in purchasing the place . Although we signed the deed he has not paid us any money. If everyone signs the deed can he have it recorded without paying for the property although it stated he was to pay us an X amount of dollars? I really thought after we signed it he would give us the money right away. Should he have paid us before we signed the deed?
Who owned the house before your mother died? Was it solely in her name or was it owned jointly by your parents?
In the vast majority of cases, a married couple owns property jointly in something called a tenancy by the entirety. That means that when one spouse dies, the surviving spouse gets full possession of the property. If that was the case with your parents, then your father was the owner of the house when it was "deeded" to his children.
As I mentioned before, the deed is a legal instrument that shows who is the owner of a piece of property. In other words, it's evidence
of a sale, it's not the means
by which the sale is effected. It's like a car title: the title is transferred at the time of the sale, but it's not the same thing as the contract for purchase of the car. In order for your father's house to be deeded to his children, there should have been an actual transfer of ownership
, apart from the transfer of the deed itself. In your case, I'm just not sure that ever happened.
It sounds like your father wanted to transfer ownership by means of a gift. It's even possible (given that he still is living in the house) that he wanted to transfer ownership by means of a "living trust" (inter vivos
trust). I can't tell. It's unusual for someone to give up ownership of a piece of property but maintain possession of it, as your father has done, but it's certainly not unheard of.
What's unusual to me is all of this deed-signing without any consideration (that's legal jargon for money or something else of value) apparently changing hands. Maybe they do things differently in Virginia, but in my experience it's customary to have a separate contract of sale, outlining all of the specifics of the transfer, when property is passed from the seller to the buyer. The deed is really just a formality.
Was there a lawyer involved in any of these transfers? If not, there's a fair chance that the first transfer (from father to children) wasn't effective, which would mean that the second transfer (from siblings to brother) isn't effective either. In that event, the house is still owned by your father, and it would pass to his heirs upon his death. If he doesn't have a will, it would pass by means of statute to his nearest relatives, most probably his children in equal shares.
That's about all I can say on the subject, jodie
. You really need to get an attorney who is familiar with real estate law involved in this mess. You and your family may not want to spend the money, but if the property is worth something to all of you, then it's worth protecting. A lawyer who is more knowledgeable about the specifics can best advise you on this matter.