Imagine you receive a gift deed from your uncle to some valuable, vacant, highway-frontage farmland. You pay the property taxes. About a year later, in need of quick cash your uncle sells the same land to a developer who promptly records his deed. Then your uncle dies. Who owns that property: you or the developer? Purchase Bob Bruss reports online. If you failed to record your gift deed, the legal answer is the developer owns the land. The reason is he is a BFP (bona fide purchaser) for consideration without notice of your prior unrecorded gift deed. However, in a quiet title lawsuit to determine ownership, you might have an equitable claim that you are the property owner because you paid the property taxes after receiving the unrecorded gift deed. But in most states the recording laws make your prior unrecorded gift deed ineffective due to your failure to record and you will lose the case. Now let's change the scenario to specify you receive a gift deed to the same property, fail to r...
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