House ready for probate - Posted by Joe H.

Posted by Rick, the Probate Guy on June 12, 2006 at 23:30:33:

What is it that you want to do? Do you wish to purchase the house? If so, in order to obtain marketable title, the asset (the house, at least) will need to be probated. If you have any plans to resell the house or obtain financing, you’ll need marketable title (title insurance).

Have you determined who all of the heirs are? Have you asked them if they will sell (assign) you their interests?

If one of the heirs becomes the adminstrator, you can purchase the property from the estate without much concern of repercussions due to creditor’s claims and other heirs but will have less control. If you become the administrator, you’ll have more control but will also have the dual problem of having the fiduciary responsibility to marshal the assets, pay all creditors, satisfy the courts and avoiding claims by dissatisfied heirs. It’s your call.

House ready for probate - Posted by Joe H.

Posted by Joe H. on June 12, 2006 at 23:01:45:

I know an elderly and ill woman who lives in a house that belonged to her mother. She passed away some time ago and left no Will, Trust, nada. What can I do to obtain this house. I have learned that no one remaining in the family is willing to take the house through probate. Do I have an option here? I live in CA if that matters.


Dig up some Facts - Posted by Jimmy

Posted by Jimmy on June 14, 2006 at 08:46:36:

Do you know why no one wants to probate the estate? Maybe the house is underwater in terms of debt. When there is a valuable asset sitting idle, it is rare for faily members to turn their backs on it. But when an “asset” is really a liability, it is very common.

If you are able to determine that the house is not underwater, you can take the bull by the horns. You can petition the probate court to open the probate. BUT. You do NOT want to nominate yourself as PR. You want to name someone else, who will sell you the property during the probate administration. Frankly, you don’t even care of the probate is completed. You just want it opened so you can do your deal with the PR.

See if you can convince one of the family members to accept the role of PR. Explain that they don’t have to pay any money, and you will asist. Then, hire an attorney to do the work. The attorney fees in a California probate are set by statute, and are paid when the estate closes.

Don’t be surprised if the family member is not inclined to give you a bargain price. The property will be appraised as part of the probate (by a probate referee). If the PR enters into a deal a lot less than this appraised value, you may run into a problem. If the PR happens to be the sole beneficiary, there is no problem. But if there are multiple benes, all of them will be issued a NOPA (Notice of Proposed Action) before the sale closes, and each has an opportunity to object. A price well below appraised value will often catch an objection (if the other benes are awake). At that point, you are looking at a hearing before the judge to justify the deal.

What County are we talking about? I practiced trust & estate law in the Bay Area for 20 years, and can refer you to good attorneys in mos of the big CA cities.

Re: House ready for probate - Posted by Joe

Posted by Joe on June 13, 2006 at 10:50:29:

NOLO has a good book on how to probate an estate in Cal. My local library had it, so the education was free!

Intestate succession RE acquisition - Posted by John Merchant

Posted by John Merchant on June 13, 2006 at 10:44:37:

I have worked a number of these “intestate” (no last will)property deals and the first thing I learned to do was buy a copy of the Death Certificate, then get a copy of the published obituary to begin researching the identity and location of the surviving family…spouse,kids, or grandkids, etc.

Then go to them and obtain Deeds from each, as each is an owner of some percentage of the property now that Grandmother has died.

While the adults can sign for themselves, not so for the minors who are direct heirs since their related parent has pre-deceased Grandmother…and for these “un-emancipated” heirs, a Guardian of the Estate must be appointed to legally dispose of their interests in GM’s property.

It’s likely somewhere along that you’ll run into an involved enough situation to cause you to have to hire a lawyer who can help you work through such problems.

Of course you might find NO minors, no loose ends, and be able to just get a few QC Deeds signed, then have a local title officer tell you whether an Intestate Proceeding must be filed to give you the right to buy ALL rights to the estate.

Really, the title co officer is the person who’ll tell you what he/she/it must have to guarantee YOU have good title, so they’re the folks you have to please.

Good luck here, and you’ll learn a lot.