It never ceases to amaze me that two or more adults can agree to pool their money to purchase a home, to fund monthly mortgage payments, to maintain and operate that home, all with have no written agreement that sets out what will happen if their relationship comes apart.

I have been in Court arguing on behalf of one such co-owner. He was one of two fellows who had purchased a home with the intention that it be rented out and, hopefully, both co-owners would make money as real estate prices increased. The home was purchased in 2002 and by 2009, when I obtained a Court Order to have it sold, the home had doubled in value.

What would have been nice is if these two men had been able to take the profits and divide it between themselves. However, one would not agree to anything the other suggested and both ended up in Court. The Judge spent his time trying to determine what was the original agreement and intention of these co-owners. In the end the proceeds were divided but not before the costs of the lawsuit were deducted – tens of thousands of dollars.

Any time that two individuals purchase land there ought to be an Agreement between them outlining what will occur if their relationship sours, if one of them dies, has to leave the area, or just wants to sell out and take their cash. Without such an Agreement, in writing and signed by both – even without the benefit of being written by a lawyer – the cost, in money, time and heartache, will be substantial.