how do you subject 2 a property when the owner has passed?

10 Replies

Hello recently my great aunt passed about a month ago and now I wanna subject 2 it just to keep it in the family and to own my first house. My question is who would inherit the house? My aunt wasn't Married or didn't have children, and both of her parents have passed has well. The only living closest relatives she has is my grandmother( which is her sister) and my two great-uncles( her brothers) . So does anyone know where do I need to start to get the deed of the house I have been studying subject 2 for a year now and I wanna start it with my aunt house. Another question is do my grandmother and hers brothers inherit the house do I need to get them to sign over the deed of the house and agree with the subject 2 along with the bank? Also my aunt didn't have a living will, so can someone please help me with this situation. I would appreciate any advice but looking for experience comments because I feel this is a tricky situation. Also it's only 8 years left on her current mortgage and the house is in Ohio.

@Lonell Slaughter Her brother and sisters seem to be the ones who would inherit by law. They will need to contact an estate attorney to find out the specific steps for them to be able to sell the house. 
Don’t assume they will just give you any equity they inherit. Your prime target fir dub2’s are people in financial trouble, and desperate. 
If you’ve been studying sub2 for a year, you should know that you do Not get the bank to agree....they can’t agree, you just do it without informing them, and hope they don’t call the loan due when they find out. 

If your aunts and uncles are seniors make sure all their relatives agree to them giving you 10’s or hundreds of thousands of dollars that they might have expected to inherit so you avoid any charges of taking advantage of the elderly. I don’t know if anyone other than a spouse or MAYBE children have the right to assume a deceased person’s mortgage. The bank is going to know she died. Probate’s going to take 6-24 months while no payments are being made. So they’ll be looking at who assumed the mortgage. 

Get the probate lawyer in there and have them start working on it as nothings going to happen until that’s over. You don’t want any unpaid bills piling up forcing the house to be sold to pay off those bills. Especially if she spent any time in the hospital or nursing home before passing. 

Imagine you’re on the other side of this. Your mother inherits a $300k house and lets her nephew assume the mortgage for $50k. Do you think your nephew might have taken advantage of your mom? Maybe you’d have been happier if she sold it to you for $50k or sold it on the market and had the cash.

@Lonell Slaughter , 1st thing to do is get a title report, or at least a preliminary title report for the property house so you know for sure who owned it and what if any loans, liens, or other encumbrances are on the property.  2nd Thing is to determine whether the owner (your Great Aunt?) had a will.  If there is a will, then the will controls who gets the house. (Lonell, you did mention there was not a 'living will' -probably you meant a will for her property, -a living willing controls what medical procedures she wants in the event she is alive but unable to direct her own healthcare)   If there is no will then your Great Aunt died 'intestate', or without a will.  In that case Ohio State law controls who inherits the house.  or .    In order for Ohio law to be properly applied, you'll need an accurate family tree.   Creating an accurate family tree would be the 3rd thing I'd do.  

Once you know the owner(s) and condition of the title, whether the owner had a will, who Ohio law declares should inherit the property, and what the owner's family tree is, then you can answer  "... who would inherit the house?" 

If the situation is as you believe it to be, then I would prepare a short one page Quit Claim Deed and ask each of your Great Aunt's siblings to sign it.  The Quit Claim did simply states that they are giving all their right in the house, if any, to you. If they  Quit Claim their interest in the property to you, then put the property through probate.   If they won't sign the quit claim, then I'd recommend that you simply treat the house as your own.  Move in or rent out the house like you own it.  If you assume control of the house, then they will probably do nothing and you can live there or collect rent.  You can ask them again to sign over their interest as often as you like.  In 21 years you can have a court award you title or

Yes. Defiantly try to con your relatives out of a house. And if that doesn’t work, try to steal it. I wonder if you can go to jail for charging rent to a house you don’t own? What do you tell the tenants when the real owners walk in to their house?

@Bill Brandt no one on this thread, except you, has suggested conning anyone, nor stealing.  My reply was to ask the relatives if they wanted to sign over the house to a family member.   Perhaps your family wouldn't do that, but many families decide quite amicably how to distribute mutual interest in real property.  It starts with asking.  Sometimes, people just need time to decide what they really want to do.  So it pays to be willing to ask them again.

Until real property is distributed in probate, it does belong to the estate of the deceased, however, the estate can abandon the property. I see cases of real property abandonment every year in my county, Thurston, in WA.   After only one month, it would be hard to make a court cognizable claim that the property at issue here was abandoned. But when that claim can be supported, then there would be no trespass by anyone who uses it.

As to stealing a relative's house, that too is only your suggestion.   My suggestion was to start using the home -which actually serves to preserve it, whereas leaving a home empty an unmaintained results in steady decay.  If, after 21 years, the relatives with superior interest in the home have done nothing, then the LAW of Ohio declares that the home should become the property of the person who has been living there an taking care of it.  It is the legislature of Ohio, not Bill Brandt, who determines what theft is in Ohio.  

After informing a family member that he/she has an interest in real property, it is often enough the case that other family members are neither willing to quit their interest in an inherited property nor to pursue it.  Not all people are like you Bill. Some people are stuck in their own routines and limitation and are unwilling to take on a new decision or responsibility.  Every year I see people who are unwilling either to let go of, or to contribute to maintaining or probating a family member's real property.    

If Lonell did start to use the property and a relative later decided to pursue his/her interest in the property, then that relative would necessarily start the probate process.  In that case it is likely that the probate court would order Lonell to pay the estate a reasonable rent.  While it is possible to be arrested for almost any act or failure to act, being arrested for possessing the real property of a deceased family member is something I've never heard of, especially when other family members with a superior interest have failed to probate the property.

Finally, here is exactly what I tell tenants when I rent a property to them that I do not own.

Thanks for your responses to Lonell.  No one on this thread is advocating fraud or theft.  What I recommended was using (maintaining) the property, which is certainly to the benefit of the estate.  It is the law of Ohio, that a person who uses real estate long enough, it entitled to keep it.

My response would be the same. Pretend it happened to you. 

Your mom, maybe she’s 80 or 90 inherits a house, maybe it’s worth $500k or a million if it’s in California. Her nephew has her sign a simple piece of paper promising to “take care of the property” and she basically gives this nephew hundreds of thousands of dollars. Now imagine your mom is squeaking by on social security.

As her son you would be giving your cousin this same advice? Go ahead, “relieve my mom of the burden of ownership” of this asset. Me and my family would appreciate it. That would be much better for her than selling it and improving her own life. It’s her fault for trusting you anyway. And if she won’t sign it “just go ahead and treat it like it’s your own.” She always liked you better than her brothers and sister anyway. 

I’m not saying it’s not legal, I’m saying it sounds scummy. Maybe if the the original post had been I’d like to work out a win win with my relatives while keeping a house in the family… 

He says his grandmother’s sister. I don’t know if the 4 of them only had 1 kid, (his grandmother) who only had one kid (his mom) who only had one kid (him) then maybe it’s less scummy as we’re only talking about 3 inheritors who have no other dependents. But if there are other cousins and nephews and nieces, I revert to not illegal just scummy…

Originally posted by @Lonell Slaughter :

I would appreciate any advice

I don't believe you. Check back in.  Engage, vote, do something.  

Got people out here arguing and you're hiding behind your keyboard.

@Bill Brandt ,  You are certainly not the only person who thinks that my approach is "scummy".  Most readers will.   And here is a link to a trained Attorney, hired to advise Realtors on real estate law via our local Realtors Legal Hotline.   She chose more specific words for the type of conduct I proposed. "Trespass, Theft and Fraud".  In that link I show why each of her allegations were erroneous.  Below, I show why I would be thankful if what I recommended happened to me or or to the estate of someone I love.

The reason I would be thankful is that both the property and ALL of each relatives rights are preserved and enhanced for years to come. In my experience the greater danger in these situations are that no one does anything.  Time after time, I see properties where the owner dies, and none of the surviving heirs care enough to step up and probate the property.  Thus, the property falls into dereliction, decay, and the destruction of trespassers until at last the county forecloses for nonpayment of property taxes.  

My recommendation to Lonell would preserve the property along with all the rights of the heirs (and their descendants) for 21 years.  If Lonell steps up and moves in, the property is thereby secured, the property is more likely to be maintained (preserving value), and if he intends to stay there, the property taxes will be paid.  For Lonell to follow my advice, he's gotten a title report, he's verified whether his Great Aunt had a will, he's determined the Ohio Laws regarding Intestate Succession, and he has researched the family tree so that all heirs listed under Ohio law are correctly identified.  Then he has approached each of the deceased owner's siblings asking them if they are willing to sign over the property. In doing so he has necessarily informed them that they have an inheritance.  Not a bad start.

These actions only become 'scummy' if you assume facts not supplied.  Lonell specified this is Ohio (last word of his post).  The property is in the rust belt.  Since this is not a high value area, it is more likely the property is not worth $10's of thousands to any one of the parties.  But if it is, we should not assume that the senior heirs are incapacitated regarding their finances.  And if one or all of the elder relatives are incapacitated we should not assume that Lonell is going to take advantage of them by accepting their interest in the property without offering a fair return.  And if a senior heir was incapacitated, and Lonell did take advantage of the infirmity, the estate or the loved ones of the incapacitated heir can still make a claim of improper transfer even years later -but only because the property value is still there.  Only because someone stepped up to preserve the value and to pay the taxes.

If the senior heirs don't wish to sign away their interest, but also aren't willing to probate their interest, then it still not 'scummy' to preserve the home by using it.  And, if the heirs merely neglect to make a decision today, or this month, or this year, they still have the right to make their claim at any time during the next 21 years. If Lonell follows my suggestion the property is preserved for years instead of being foreclosed for property taxes.  And the property will still have value instead of being left to decay.  Note that most counties will not track down the heirs to pay them any excess proceeds from the tax sale.  Excess proceeds 'escheat' to the county, then the heirs inheritance is gone forever.  Or, if an heir does decide to  probate the home, then Lonell's use of the property grants him no extra legal interest, he has merely contributed to securing it, preserving it, and to creating some income (rent) for the estate.  

So you are correct to see that there are other ways to handle this.  There is always another way, and there is always a better way.   Seems to me, that in this instance it is important for someone to step up and do something.  Despite appearing 'scummy', what I proposed, is effective, and far more beneficial to the heirs, who are not willing to probate their inheritance, than letting it go into property tax foreclosure.  Best wishes.

I would definitely talk with the relatives who MIGHT be the new owners. Most people who inherit who happen to be older are not going to want to mess with a house that might need some work. BUT I would offer them some money to buy it from them. If the house is worth 80k and still owed 20k or thereabouts, you could see how much in repairs its going to be and start a conversation.

Tell the aunts and uncles that we all know its worth 80, but needs a little work. Its probably worth 70 as is. Plus there is still a mortgage that they are all going to have to pay NOW to stay current.

"Hey Family, The house is worth about 70k. Could I buy it from you guys for 50k or 40k or whatever? This would be my first house. I can continue to make the payments AND I could give you guys a small payment for the next 5 years on the balance that is owed to you. It would really help me to make payments to you"

Family is going to want to help, but they are also going to want SOME money also.

You don't.  That's the short and sweet of it.

Laws vary GREATLY by state.  I'm only licensed in TX and don't know where you are, so seek competent legal advice from an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction.

Any kind of sub-2 I've seen involves getting several signatures from the owner.  Owner is dead (condolences for the loss of your aunt), so that's out.  PoA expires upon passing of the principal (your aunt), so that's out too.  You need to probate her estate under the laws of where she resided.  

That's the only legal option.