Avoiding Legal Problems Associated With Owning Property

Authored By: Lagniappe Law Lab


Legal problems may occur that could decrease the property's value. They make selling the property difficult. Legal problems may cause you to lose the property.

How to Avoid Legal Problems with Owing Property

  • A property title is a formal legal document that shows ownership of property.
  • Titles get filed and stored with the local parish's clerk of court office. The clerk of court handles various legal documents.
  • The first person to file title by proper procedure with the clerk may be the legal owner of the property. This may be even if the family or local community thinks that someone else owns the property. Title is only valid if it gets filed with the local clerk. The title must identify the property's correct current owner. If you don’t have a valid title and another person claims they own the property, you may lose your property.
  • If you want to see the title for your property you can visit the clerk's office. This office is usually at the local courthouse. If there are any issues with your title, you may want to contact an attorney to fix them.
  • If you see the title in your name, you can still verify that all the details are correct. The title must include your most current contact information.
  • Stay up to date on paying all bills and taxes for your property. Make sure not to miss bills. You should share your current address and contact information with any bills you owe. Read all notices, bills, and documents that you get about the property.
  • The government and other creditors may place legal claims on your property if you do not pay your bills. These claims make it difficult to qualify and apply for other loans. It may hurt your credit score. It may even lead to eventual foreclosure on the property.
  • If you lose your property because you did not pay a bill you may still have options available. e.g. if your property gets sold because you didn't pay taxes, then in general you have 3 years to buy the property back.
  • When you buy property, it may help reduce errors to have an attorney or real estate professional. A person may get property through a will, a gift, or inheritance. If you get property by other means, an attorney can help you verify the property gets transferred. If you own the property, it is important to verify that the property transferred to you by legal means. Check that the title is on file with the local parish's clerk of court's office. Update your confirmation for bills and taxes with the title.
  • Issues often arise when a person dies without a will or gets property by a gift. Verify the property is yours by legal transfer. An attorney can help you navigate this.
  • More than one person can own heirs' property. The last known deed is often in the name of the deceased relative. Heirs' property can cause problems for its owners including possible eviction. It may cause issues selling the property. It may cause issues qualifying and getting a loan. Heirs' property may not qualify for certain government programs or tax exemptions. Heirs' property may not qualify for loans or help with disaster relief.
  • Logistical, financial and personal problems often occur with more than one property owner. If one owners wishes to sell, lease, repair, or build on the property, they may need to get the consent all other owners. Sometimes a co-owner may only sell their part of the property. This forces remaining owners to manage the property with a new owner. One owner forces a court to divide the property.
  • If a co-owner doesn't pay bills or taxes, a creditor may foreclose on the whole or part of the property. The other owners of the property may also be liable by their own ownership part in the property
  • Managing property with friends and family as owners may create personal problems.
  • A will is a legal document. It gets prepared by a lawyer or notary public. It directs how a personal representative should distribute property when you die. Your will should state who receives property when you die.
  • You should tell someone if they are in your will.
  • If you already have a will, then make sure you keep your will up to date.
  • Keep your will in a secure place. Tell people how to find the will in case you die.
Last Review and Update: Sep 12, 2022
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