Deceased owners? Is anyone home? - Posted by Dallas

Posted by Jimmy on July 30, 2005 at 07:15:09:

do more homework. follow any available clues. if all lead to dead ends, you have three choices: (a) do nothing, keep an eye out, and wait for a foreclosure, (b) initiate probates for both estates, and have yourself appointed as executor, or © gamble on an adverse possession takeover.

Choice C is a tough one. if the place is abandoned, and has been that way for a while, you could enter the place as a squatter, get it rented up, start managing it and acting like an owner. after a period of years (it differes fro state to state), you could bring a quiet title lawsuit to legally put title in your name. Thsi alternative is full of risks. First, you would be a “burglar” when you enter the place, and could find yourself in jail. You have no legal right to enter the place. Thses kind of cases are pretty rare, but I saw one happen in Berkeley, California a few years back.

Deceased owners? Is anyone home? - Posted by Dallas

Posted by Dallas on July 21, 2005 at 09:43:29:

I found an ugly house, but when looking up the owners on the county tax assessor website, it lists two owners and “EST” beside both names. Courthouse reseaerch shows they are bro and sis, in a duplex. Whom do you contact next??? (This home showed arrears in tax of $10,000.00). Should I just see if it shows up on the tax sale?

Re: Deceased owners? Is anyone home? - Posted by jimmy

Posted by jimmy on July 29, 2005 at 15:46:44:

maybe I can help you here.

  1. try to determine if there are delinquent mortgages. if so, add up the mortgages and the back taxes. of the propety is under-water, forget about it for now. wait until the lender forecloses or the county forecloses.

  2. if both co-owners are dead, you have a messy situation. you may have to deal with TWO estates, and not just one. See if either or both estates are under administration in the county. if so, talk to the executor. or counsel for the executor. this one could be goofier than you might expect, because one of the estates could be a beneficiary of the other.

  3. if there are no probate administrations, see if you can locate a family member who knows the situation. it might be unnecessary to probate the estates, depending on (a) how title was held, or (b) summary procedures which might exist in your state.

  4. follow whatever clues are available to you. is the place occupied? if so, find out who is managing the place, and where rent checks go. what is the mailing address for the owners with the county tax office. if other than the physical address, you have a good clue. are the utilities on? try a water hose. if so, someone is paying the bills. find out who.

  5. if all else fails, and the property has a lot of equity in it,and you cannot find family members, YOU can petition the probate court to open a probate, and have yourself named as executor. As executor, you can transact a sale of the property. But your ability to do so is in a fiduciary capacity, and any sweetheart deals to yourself will get you in hot water. I have seen this kind of “involuntary” probate only once in my career as an estate planning attorney, and it was a creditor who did it. to protect his interest in the estate. and it worked. but there was a lot of money at stake.

Re: Deceased owners? Is anyone home? - Posted by Dallas

Posted by Dallas on July 29, 2005 at 21:44:59:

The two deceased owners are a brother-sister combination, according to my local courthouse research. House was deeded to them 20 years ago by mother “…in consideration of taking care of me.” But now, they have all passed. I have not found any wills, affidavits of heirship, etc.