I've found it get hard to get clear information on this subject, but here's the best I can come up with:
My wife's maternal grandmother inherited land from her husband. Some of that land was sold to their oldest son (my wife's uncle). The rest stayed in the grandmother's name until she died.
Then, all of her land was sold to a 3rd party. The sale of this land required the signatures of all of my mother-in-law's siblings (the grandmother's heirs).
At the time of this sale, I was not married to my wife.
Now, years later, someone is saying there was something wrong with the deed of the sale, and supposedly the piece of land the uncle received was incorrectly accounted for. (The 3rd party and the uncle were both paying land taxes for the same land, and they have the same accountant who noticed the error).
To "clear the title", the lawyer of my wife's uncle is demanding we sign a Corrective Warranty Deed. My wife and her siblings, as well as all their spouses, are being included in this demand since my mother-in-law died before this error was discovered.
They've also now threatened us with a lawsuit, presumably to force us to sign documents that have never been explained to us.
We've only received letters that boil down to, "Sign this, because I told you to", with no clear explanation as to what we're signing, or why we have to be at all involved with a piece of land that, by all accounts, none of us had an interest in. (Purportedly, the lawyers who drafted the original sale made some mistake, and giving us more details requires them to acknowledge the mistake. Family members who've pried for more information have been met with resistance and rudeness).
I'm particularly confused as to why I would be required to sign anything, as my wife and I were not married at the time of the original sale. And, as far as I can gather, the extra bit of land that was not properly accounted for was under the ownership of the uncle, and wasn't part of the land that was divvied up to the heirs.
So, what is a Corrective Warranty Deed, and why am I being required to sign it? And, if this were to go to court, would I have to appear, and what would the expected outcomes be?
The land is located in Nebraska, but we do not live there. We're currently unable to make a trip out to the local area in question, due to financial, vehicular, and other constraints.
Based on what I've been able to find, Nebraska intestate succession for assets, such as land not in a trust, gets divided among the spouse (1/2) and the rest divvied among the descendants. Nothing I can find specifies that descendant's spouses are entitled to a share, but rather that inheritance is a non-marital asset.
I was able to see some legal counsel, although it wasn't a real estate lawyer. They, too, were confused by the deed and the fact that the specific corrections were not spelled out and I was not given a copy of the original deed. I drafted a letter, which I've faxed, requesting that specific information and assurance that there's no risk or liability to us by signing this (I've been concerned about anything that might necessitate reporting gains or losses to assets).
This morning I had also called the law firm and left a message for the attorney.
After faxing the letter, I called the law firm again and confirmed with the assistant that the fax had been received. She also informed me that the attorney had drafted a letter to me, after the phone call, that incidentally contains the information I was requested, and I should receive it by email later today.
What I gathered from my visit to legal services is that I am being asked to sign this, as a spouse, because of a "cloud" in the title, and it's par for the course to ask for spouse signatures when it comes to deeds, whether or not the spouse has claim to the land, so non-marital assets don't come into play in this case.
What I gathered from the legal assistant at the law firm is that the legal description of an area of land that was excepted in the original deed was incorrect. So, the exception, which the uncle legally owns, is being corrected to reflect that the correct plot of land the uncle owes. I'll be able to compare the differences once I receive the letter. My guess is that they wrote something like "northwest corner" instead of "northeast" corner.