What will happen?

Q: My Father is in his late 50s and not in the best health. He inherited my grandmother’s property some years ago. His girlfriend somehow signed her name onto the deed of the house during the transaction. My Father says he was unaware of. I’d hate to see this property go to this girlfriend if something were to happen to him. I asked him about a will and he said that’s not something a son should ask their parents. So, if my dad passes away, does the property and everything on the property go to the girlfriend because she’s on the Deed of the house? (Murrysville, PA)

A: I don’t know. I suggest having an attorney look at the deed. It should be on file in the Westmoreland County Recorder of Deeds. If her name is on the deed as an owner, she has some interest in the property. If she is a tenant-in-common, she will own a divisible one-half interest with your father’s estate when he passes. If she is a joint tenant, with survivor rights, she will own the entire property when he dies. If there is no mortgage or liens, she will own it free and clear. As far as trying to rescind the deed with the argument that she somehow got her signature on the deed without his knowledge, that usually is an uphill battle. However, an attorney examining the deed can determine if it was legally executed, discuss your father’s competency at the time and perhaps shed some light on the situation for you.

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