Retaining Property

Pro Bono Lawyer

Helps Couple Retain Property

Land and Property DisputesMr. & Mrs. Smith purchased their home in 1996 from Mrs. Brown, who died in 1999.  The Smiths had a warranty deed for the property which was properly filed in the county records.  They were thrilled to be homeowners, and they paid all taxes on the property and renovated it.  The City approached the Smiths about purchasing their home because the City wanted to build the new police academy on their land.  The City performed a title search and did not believe that they had clear title to the land.  The City advised the Smiths that they would need to have an Affidavit of Heirship executed before the City could purchase the home from them.  The City believed that the Affidavit would clear any title issues.  The Smiths approached Mrs. Brown’s daughter to obtain the information they needed to file the Affidavit, but the daughter would not provide the information unless the Smiths paid her $15,000.00.  The Smiths sought help from DVAP, and the case was referred to a pro bono attorney.  After meeting with the Smiths and discussing their case with the city attorney, it was determined that the Smiths could validly claim title through adverse possession.  Although the pro bono attorney believed that Mrs. Brown had the authority to sell the house to the Smiths, any claim made by her family could be quieted through the Smiths adverse possession claim.  The pro bono lawyer drafted Affidavits of Adverse Possession that the city attorney reviewed, edited, and approved.  The Affidavits were executed by the Smiths and the closing went through without any problems.  They received their money from the sale of the property and moved back to Mr. Smith’s hometown of Sulphur Springs, Texas.

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