Where there’s a Will, there’s a way

4 Replies

We know of a family whose parents are now both deceased and the surviving children want to sell the property. However, they are unsure if there was a will or if they are even the heirs to the estate. The property is in the metro Minneapolis area, but the family is out of town.
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Does anyone have a good resource to help them sort this out?
We are of course interested in buying the property, but we want to make sure we’re working with the right people. Even if this doesn’t turn into a good deal financially, we’d like to give them a hand in figuring this out.

Any advice is greatly appreciated.
Thank you.

They should contact a lawyer and hopefully open up probate to settle the estate.

If I remember correctly they would have claim to the house but they still should contact a lawyer that deals with this on a regular basis.

@DuWayne Jones I'm not sure how your state deals with property like that when the owners die intestate, but your title company should know.  

Ideally, your state has similar laws to Texas and a simple Affidavit of Heirship will suffice and preclude a formal probate process thru the court.   This process in Texas is extremely easy, fast, and cheap.  It can literally be done in a day as long as you can the info you need, a notary, and a copy of the death certificate.

If you're working with a good title company, especially one that works with a lot of investors, they should be able to give you a simple answer.

This is not my area of practice, but I hear from colleagues there are some streamlined options for getting through probate if there is no dispute between possible heirs.   If money is an issue, they could start by contacting the Hennepin County Court's self-help legal center and see if they can give you the right forms. However, risk without going through an  attorney is there may be unforeseen consequences.   I think probate attorneys will sometimes take their fee out of the liquidation of assets, so there is no need to be penny wise and pound foolish.  That said, being the potential buyer, you might encourage them to do this with an attorney so it gets done correctly and doesn't come back to haunt you later. And of course, getting owners policy of title insurance is a must for the future buyers (probably should be for anyone, but especially after non-deeded transfers such as foreclosures and probate.)

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