Q: My late mother’s husband brought me up as his daughter since I was a child. He had a will that left EVERYTHING to me, my home and all his assets. At the time he was diagnosed terminally ill, my dad’s brother (Stanley) disowned me and stole my dad’s wilI, and forged my dad’s signature to the title of my home, making it a co-tenancy, my mother was still alive at the time and therefore still owned half of the home, correct? Wouldn’t this alone make the co-tenancy title null and void? I contacted the bar association in the hopes that they could locate the attorney who prepared the will, to no avail. At the time I was having very difficult emotional health problems, due to some trauma that I had faced as well as the thought of losing my dad, whom I relied on for everything. Therefore Stanley’s wife was appointed power of attorney as well as caretaker for my dad. She stole all my assets as well as cancelled his life insurance (to which I was the sole beneficiary). Stanley evicted me from my own home, making me completely indigent. I was recently approved for SSDI and although I am by no means wealthy anymore, if I were able to reclaim my assets I could pay. (Pittsburgh, PA)
A: If your step father and mother were on the deed as husband and wife, and they were married at the time of the forgery, both would have had to sign a new deed because husbands and wives hold property by the entireties. Stanley would have had to have forged both of their signatures to transfer title of the home. If your mother and step father were on the deed as tenants in common for some reason, Stanley could have forged your step father’s signature to transfer one-half an interest in the house. However, when a husband and wife purchase property it is presumed to be by the entireties. Much more information is needed. You need to investigate. I would go to your deed registry or recorder and look up the deed. You also can check your local probate court to see if a will was filed. If it was, you can examine it and learn who the attorney was and much more. You also need to be aware of any statute of limitation issues. The statute of limitation for fraud is 4 years for fraud.