I have been seeing more properties with the owner name of "Estate of ...." I am having trouble figuring out exactly what this means. Who is exactly the owner? One of the people passed away 10 years ago so I find it hard to believe the who ever it was left to hasn't had it put into his/her name. I'm sure this is something simple, but please help clarify for me. Thanks!
It means the property is now owned by the Estate of the deceased owner. You may be surprised how many times people inherit a piece of property and don't know it. You will need to (a) see if there is an open probate case and try to contact the attorney and/or Executor of the estate; or (b) try to track down the potential heirs of the estate (children, etc.). I've had some luck tracking down potential heirs by googling the deceased owner's obituary. Those typically will list the surviving spouse (if any) and surviving siblings, children, grandchildren, etc. Hope that's enough to get you started.
The house doesn't care.
If the heir(s) don't wish to sell or borrow, they don't see the benefit of spending the money, time and effort to transfer title, esoecially if a formal probate is required.
Thus may be due to claims of creditors or familial disputes. Someday, a problem will incur that requires clearing title and that when it gets interesting.
I've only seen about 4,000 or 5,000 of these exact situations. They are opportunities for the knowledgeable intelligentsia.
As @Jim Viens stated, sometimes the heirs aren't even aware they now have an interest in the property. Case in point...several years ago I was awakened at 6:30 in the morning and served papers regarding a lawsuit for unpaid taxes on a property that we didn't even know we owned. The property was never mentioned in 3 prior estate settlements so we were never notified of such. Come to find out, we owed almost 30 years of back taxes which were substantially more than the value of the land, so we hired an attorney to have the taxing authorities release us from the suit once once we executed a deed transferring the property to taxing entities.
Thank you @Rick H. and glad that things worked out for you. Your story is great because it shows it can happen to someone that is even knowledgeable on the subject.
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