Feb 10, 2004, 7:34 AM
Post #2 of 19
Sounds about tipico! When we first moved to Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapas, we made a hefty deposit on a wonderful old house out from the city. As buyers, we had the right to choose the notario who would handle the deal. He rightly advised that we could not finalize the purchase until he had thoroughly checked out the legal ownership of the property.
The seller was an elderly gentleman who was dying of cancer and was selling the property (it was not his home but he rented it out) so he could go to Mexico City for treatment. On receiving our deposit money, he arranged for all his tenants to move out immediately. A week after our first meeting with the notario, we all re-convened in his office. Turned out that the old man had bought the property about forty years earlier and put not only his "wife" but his three daughters, who were babies at the time, on the deed as co-owners along with him.
The property could not be sold without the signatures of all three daughters, whom the father had lost track of years ago. He thought perhaps two of them might have moved to the US, another might have been somewhere in Mexico. His argument was that, since they were babies at the time he put their names on the deed and since it was obviously his money that paid for the original purchase, he should have the legal right to sell. Not so, explained the notario.
But the final crushing blow for the old man came when the notario also explained that he and his "wife" were not legally married since they had married almost half a century earlier only in the church. There had been no civil ceremony and therefore the marriage was not recognized by the Mexican government.
We got most of our deposit back and the poor old man left in tears. It was one of the saddest moments in my life as well.