Can title to real estate be transferred without the recorded attachments being honored?
Question Details: Our father passed away and left the family property to be decided when sold between his wife at the time and his children, a 50-50 split. His Will was recorded and was attached to the title of the property. We have found out that the property recently sold and the title has been transferred. She has now stated she won't honor the Will and intends on keeping the money. How could the title company ignore the contents of the Will attached to the documents and transfer the title without us knowing it?
It depends on exactly what your father did when he passed away. You write that he wanted the proceeds of the later sale of the property to be divided 50 - 50...but did the children inherit a 50% interest in (become co-owners of) the property when he died? Or did he leave the property 100% to his wife, or she otherwise became sole owner of it (e.g. he and she owned it as "joint tenants with right of survivorship," or JTROS, or he had a "transfer on death" deed transferring it to her)? If she was the 100% owner, then the provisions in his will that the proceeds should be divided if and when the property was later sold had no effect, since his will cannot control what another person does with her property, even if she got the property from him. Only if the children were currently part owners of the property alongside the wife could she not not sell it without their consent (or without a court order for the sale and division of the profits); but if, as stated, she was the sole or 100% owner after he died, then anything in his will about what to do with the property later was only his suggestion.
If the children were part-owners, they may be able to undo the sale if they want; at a minimum, they'd be entitled to their share of the proceeds. If they were not part-owners, they had no rights to the property or proceeds.
So how the property was owned after his death, by whom, is critical to answering your question.