Deed in someone else’s name but property is ours, how can we obtain a deed?

UPDATED: May 18, 2009

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Deed in someone else’s name but property is ours, how can we obtain a deed?

My husband and I bought a building to use as a church but since he did not have his own 501C he put the church organization’s name on the deed instead of his church’s name. In the meantime we paid the building in full by ourselves and have been maintaining it for the past 10 years with no contact or help from the organization. Now that we want to sell the building to purchase a larger one, the organization does not want to realize the deed to us. What can we do?

Asked on May 18, 2009 under Real Estate Law, New York


B. B., Member, New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 13 years ago | Contributor

You are going to have to hire an attorney to handle this for you, there is simply no other way.  One place that you can find qualified lawyers in your area is our website,

This is going to depend on a lot of facts, everything that has hapened over the years, and how much of that you will be able to prove.  Courts do not simply look at the deed and look away, in every case;  here, there is a chance that you will be able to show that you should either have the right to sell the property, or at least get enough of the proceeds of sale to reimburse you for what you've put into the place.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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