Foreclosures

User Stats

103
Posts
29
Votes
Travis Moe
  • Rental Property Investor
  • La Quinta, CA
29
Votes |
103
Posts

First Steps to Acquire Property Deceased Owner without Heir

Travis Moe
  • Rental Property Investor
  • La Quinta, CA
Posted May 20 2022, 23:01

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.

Thanks, BP!

Riverside, California

User Stats

22,761
Posts
12,764
Votes
Wayne Brooks
  • Real Estate Professional
  • West Palm Beach, FL
12,764
Votes |
22,761
Posts
Wayne Brooks
  • Real Estate Professional
  • West Palm Beach, FL
Replied May 21 2022, 03:33

A title company can tell you what documents you need executed. A probate attorney may or may not be required.  Start with the title company and then a probate attorney if you is needed.

User Stats

353
Posts
143
Votes
Bob Reinhard
  • Lender
  • Patterson, NY
143
Votes |
353
Posts
Bob Reinhard
  • Lender
  • Patterson, NY
Replied May 21 2022, 05:21
Only a legal representative can sell the property; this person is usually appointed through the courts. With a will for the decedent, the court appoints the executor/executrix named in the will. Without a will a different more lengthy legal proceeding is undertaken to appointed what us often called an Administrator. This person is determined by the court, often after a review of  family tree. If no family, another court appointed person is named. In NY, this individual is the Public Administrator. ( each state has its own variation I'm  sure).
Just call whatever court system is involved.  But first you need to determine if there is a will or not and proceed accordingly from a legal perspective.

Much success on this possible convoluted matter.

Bob

User Stats

445
Posts
218
Votes
Dwayne Poster
  • Investor
  • Van Isle
218
Votes |
445
Posts
Dwayne Poster
  • Investor
  • Van Isle
Replied May 21 2022, 07:55

It would depend on the motivation of the father. Will he cooperate and perform in initiating the probate and sale. If you get his blessing, and commitment, you could act as facilitator, by hooking him up with a probate attorney. You of course would enter into a sales agreement with the father, pending grant of probate. Skip all the lien stuff with a ‘clear title’ clause.