We lived in the Missouri Ozarks for most of the 90s. One of my jobs was working for a local lawyer who also owned a title insurance company. We often drew up quit claim deeds for people who were transferring property between relatives, and when they came to pick them up, I often notarized their signatures.
Several years ago, after we had already moved to Colorado, I got an email from the Executive Director of a friend’s nonprofit organization. She said she had received a phone call from a good ol’ boy living in the Ozarks who wanted my telephone number. Apparently he had been searching the Internet for several months trying to find me when he came across some donor information on the website of my friend’s nonproft organization. I should have ignored the message, but I suppose my curiosity got the better of me. I had no idea who this person was other than he claimed to live in the same community where we lived in Missouri.
It turned out that this good ol’ boy and his uncle had come to the title insurance company requesting a quit claim deed. The good ol’ boy was borrowing money from his uncle and the uncle was requiring a deed to this guy’s property as collateral. Apparently the uncle was brighter than the good ol’ boy because no one in his right mind would sign away the deed to his property as collateral, unless the property’s value was significantly less than the loan.
Fast forward several years and the uncle recorded the deed and is now the owner of several hundred acres of prime Ozark real estate. I don’t know if the loan was ever repaid, but the good ol’ boy is now suing his uncle in an attempt to regain possession of his property.
Why was he calling me? He’s convinced I would remember who he and his uncle were if only I saw them and would then miraculously recall a conversation we had wherein I explained to him why using a quit claim deed was a bad idea. Did I tell him that? Who knows. I might have, but I dealt with lots of these kind of people, none of whom I knew or ever saw again.
On Friday I got a letter from a local Missouri attorney requesting I call him in regard to this matter. This same attorney was retained by the tenants who were renting our house prior to our moving to Missouri. Said attorney threatened to take away our house because we somehow failed to give these tenants notice to vacate on a particular day. He claimed it meant nothing that we gave them six weeks notice, but everything to do with the date of the notice.
Fool me once….
I have no intention of calling this attorney because I wouldn’t put it past him to sue me for damages claiming I had given his client inappropriate legal advice when I wasn’t licensed to practice law in Missouri. It wouldn’t matter to him that, even if I had told his client it was a bad idea to use a quit claim deed as collateral, his client willfully chose to ignore my advice.
Personally I think this good ol’ boy is chasing rainbows and the local snake oil attorney is leading him on while collecting a hefty legal retainer. Unless the good ol’ boy was mentally incompetent or was forced to sign the quit claim under duress, who in their right mind would believe the good ol’ boy had a snowball’s chance in hell of regaining his property through legal action?