Hi, BP -
I did my best to research all the many, many posts on foreclosures, probates, and tax lien type strategies. I think I understand what I need to do, but I really would like it if BP could hold my hand here and make sure my analysis is correct.
A friend of mine passed during COVID about 2 years ago. She had no will. She had no spouse (divorced) and no children. Next of kin would be 1 older sibling and 1 elderly father. The father, in his 80's, lives across the country. He came out to pack up sentimental items, and since then he's announced he's washing his hands of the entire affair. He simply lacks the energy to engage. He's allowed the house to just sit vacant. As far as I know, he's opened no estate and has filed no affidavits. The father has the death certificate.
The house is in the Joshua Tree, CA area. The ARV on the house is probably $430K - $450K. The mortgage was 150K - VA loan. Nothing down. She died within a year of buying it so there was virtually zero paydown. It probably needs $75K - $85K in rehab. I've checked the county recorder's office. I can see that the CA tax board has placed state income tax liens on the house, and I can see a few utility company liens recorded. But I do not see any notice of defaults.
I know the father would be willing to sell the property to me for cheap if I pay off all the liens. So... we come to the question: What is the next step? Based on what I've been reading on BP, I need to talk to a probate attorney. A probate attorney can run a title search and handle reaching out to any interested parties and setting it up so that the father can "sell" me the property.
Does this seem right? I ask because probate attorneys in my area aren't cheap.