suicide, fire damaged -- no probate - Posted by lukeNC

Posted by lukeNC on April 03, 2006 at 19:53:01:

tried them already, i sent them some express mail, no response yet.

suicide, fire damaged – no probate - Posted by lukeNC

Posted by lukeNC on April 02, 2006 at 18:06:20:

Came across a home where a man committed suicide by burning his own house down.

It was in foreclosure, but everything is at a standstill now.

Happenned over a year ago, there is no probate going on.

House is scheduled for demolition due to the damage.

There are no kids, no wife, i’m assuming no will…I’ll have to go for the parents. I searched the obits, no mention of family, but he had a funeral.

Where do you start?

Re: suicide, fire damaged – no probate - Posted by Elizabeth NJ

Posted by Elizabeth NJ on April 05, 2006 at 24:04:39:

I would contact the county or city fire prevention unit – as you know an entity separate from the regular fire dept. The FPU would have had to investigate the fire and they will have records which may include some family members, friends, neighbors, perhaps even a former tenant or roommate. BTW, these guys are usually an excellent source of leads on properties released from their investigation which you can then buy from the owners at a discount.

There’s probably a lien from the city/county after the fire stemming from their part in shoring up the property to protect passersby.

You have two issues: 1. You have to find someone to sell you the property, and 2. You say that it’s scheduled for demo, and you have to stop the demo so you can take over & do it yourself.

If the demo order is from the city, you’ll have to move fast. I had to grab a fire-damaged property out of the city’s hands just 24 hours before they executed on a tear down order. I was in contract with the owners, but the city refused to wait for us to close, so I convinced the seller to execute the deed before closing, I had them sign an affidavit authorizing me to begin demo the following morning at their request, and we ran to the bldgs dept to get the permit to begin the tear down. They made us sweat, but we finally got the permit and early the next morning we were all at the building, including several city inspectors who never left the site day after day until everything was down.

My point is that you must move NOW if you want this property. You mention a foreclosure, but who’s foreclosing? A lender, cert holder? If it’s a lender, you can communicate with them while you’re taking the property down – just be sure to take pictures of the property now to memorialize its horrible condition so if you have to convince a lender to short or discharge, you’ll have ammo to support your position. If the foreclosure is a cert holder, he’s probably going to hang in there and get the property himself for the cost of his cert.

Is there enough money in this deal for you to make yourself crazy running in a zillion directions at once? I know we all love this kind of challenge, so if the money’s there, remember time is not, so you have to really get moving.

Go to your county deed office & pull a copy of the deed which conveyed the property to the deceased. The atty who represented him should be on that deed. Call him for contact info for family members. You should probably get some useful info that way.

Go to the local deli & schmooze with the owner/workers there – you might get some info. Best time to visit is on a weekend when everyone’s in there for lottery, cigs, lunch, whatever.

Check the neighborhood phone book for people with the same last name as your deceased owner & start calling – we’ve all found relatives of missing owners this way. Or use,, or other people search tools. Remember, even a cousin can give you a quit claim deed for a few bucks & that’s good enough to get you the property.

Sorry for the lengthy posting. Let us know how you’re doing on this.

Good luck.


Re: suicide, fire damaged – no probate - Posted by Ken-Orlando

Posted by Ken-Orlando on April 03, 2006 at 17:00:21:

Talk to the neighbors to see if you can get any leads

Re: suicide, fire damaged – no probate - Posted by Anne_ND

Posted by Anne_ND on April 03, 2006 at 16:24:57:


I’ve been successful getting info from Funeral Home Directors. The name will be in the obit or death notice.

good luck,


Re: suicide, fire damaged – no probate - Posted by Jim FL

Posted by Jim FL on April 03, 2006 at 14:37:11:

Why not contact the mortgage holder, and offer to buy the paper.
See what the status is, and if things can be worked out, then just foreclose yourself, and go from there.
Obviously, talking to whoever is going to demo the house is a must before doing anything…otherwise you might own paper on a lot only.
I assume its the city who wants it demo’ed, and if its scheduled, move fast, some cities get out quick and knock em down, while others…well?

Anyway, just a quick thought.

Good luck, and do let us know how this one falls…pardon the pun,
Jim FL

Re: suicide, fire damaged – no probate - Posted by Kristine-CA

Posted by Kristine-CA on April 03, 2006 at 11:03:06:

I’d check the death cert to see who the informant was. Might just be a
relative, but if not, you can contact them to find relatives.

Mortgage Holder - Posted by Mike

Posted by Mike on April 03, 2006 at 09:11:40:

It might be worthwhile to contact the mortgage holder and ask to speak to their legal counsel about the property. That would be where I would look for answers, because they are probably already working on a way to get rid of the property.