someone please correctly tell me who owns this house

8 Replies

Can someone please tell me the correct answer to this question. I have a friend that I'm trying to wholesale her house for her. Here's the deal, her mother and brother both are deceased her mother deeded the house to her son in case she died first but he died before her she was 91 yrs old. The house was never transfered over in the daughters name but she has been paying the property taxes on the house for 5 yrs. The house has been vacant for 5 years now because it's a house that the mother used to leave in a long time ago before purchasing another house. Can someone tell me who owns the house? Is it still the deceased brother kids who would be a heir or is it the daughter of the mother since she is next of kin. I can't put the house under contract until she is the owner. But I need to know who the rightful owner is. Please only respond if u know the correct answer because I asked two other people and they gave me different answers. Can someone e please help me. Thanx so much forever grateful

hi deurward. thats a tricky issue there. the kids of the brother would actually be the owners now because of inheritance rights. that is, if the mother actually deeded the house over to the son before she died. if she did so, then of course his heirs would have legal right to the house. case closed. however, if the son did not have a will at the time of his death, then the house and his assets would have to go thru probate as he has more than one heir. if i were the sister, especially after 5 years, i would push for the probate. its gonna cost her, but she has a good case simply because the kids have made no effort to aqquire the house house themselves and made no effort to pay the taxes or upkeep on the place. hence, they have proven to have no intrest. i would push the issue in court and see who stands up to claim their inheritance. if any of those kids stands up and says " its mine", then at least she can hit them with a bill for the taxes she has paid and any upkeep. 

There is no clear answer here. As Mark points out, it mostly depends on if there was an actual transfer of the deed to the son before his death. Was the deed recorded? If the deed was tranferred then it was part of the son's estate. If the son died with a will, the will stipulates how his property is passed on. If he died without a will, the laws of the state where the property is will determine how the property is passed on. But, the fact that the daughter has been paying the real estate taxes for 5 years could also have an effect on the legal status. It may be that nobody can claim a marketable title at this point. She needs a lawyer.

@Deurward Clark , there are two facts you should be able to find out on your own. 

1) Look up the house in the city property recrods and see whose name is on the deed.  If it's the mother's name, that's a great first step.

2) Check with the clerk of court in the city where the mother lived and died, which is hopefully where her will was filed.  If the will was filed with the clerk, you'll be able to obtain a copy of the official will and read it.  There's nothing like seeing the facts with your own eyes.  The sister may not correctly understand all the facts.  If the will was filed and it does not mention the brother inheriting the house, or if the will was never officially filed with the clerk, that's good news for the sister.

The bottom line is, you need to get ahold of some straightfoward facts.  Going by the hearsay of the sister might prove to be a waste of your time.  Once you know those two facts, you'll know whether or not you want to pursue this.

@Duard Clark @Randy  AND you should be able to see what debt obligations are.

@Deurward Clark

  very simply... all of any of this is speculation and just guessing..  Just open up escrow on it and order a preliminary title report.. or title work or whatever they call it in your state..

once you get the title report back it will have the true vested owner.. and if there is issue with the title IE to convey marketable title it will spell it out in the Preliminary title report.

some call it a title binder  etc etc.. usually a few hundred bucks.  and the cost of doing business

@Deurward Clark Your friend has a title mess. Not a deal that will be wholesaler anytime soon.

I've seen many of these over the years. Do-it-yourself estate planning didn't work out as planned. 

Absent brother having a will or more formal estate plan, you'll have to follow the laws in NJ for intestate decedents estate. I do not know the laws in your state, however in my state (CA) you'd have to go by Brother's date of death property value and determine if a summary probate is sufficient or if a full, probate estate was necessary.

Your friend will need death certificates for all as well as recorded deeds and take to a qyalified real estate attorney. I suggest you get a referral by one of the major title insurance companies. 

Perhaps my buddy @Gursel "Gus" Demir will weigh in here. 

Also, I Suggest you break your post down into smaller paragraphs for easy digestion.  

Originally posted by @Jay Hinrichs :

@Deurward Clark

  very simply... all of any of this is speculation and just guessing..  Just open up escrow on it and order a preliminary title report.. or title work or whatever they call it in your state..

once you get the title report back it will have the true vested owner.. and if there is issue with the title IE to convey marketable title it will spell it out in the Preliminary title report.

some call it a title binder  etc etc.. usually a few hundred bucks.  and the cost of doing business

I dunno about doing it this way.

A contract is needed to open escrow. 

The owner must be the seller on the contract. 

A title report can be obtained without opening escrow; after all, there are buyers at auction who run title that way before bidding. 

@Steve Babiak

  sorry steve  that's what I meant just order a title report.... I just default back to what I do were I can open escrow without a contract and with a phone call.. but that's because of the volume of bizz I do with title company .. and our title plants are digital.. so running a title search is not as big an issue like it is in many east coast states I work in.. were they have to actually hire a title abstractor to physically pull title.. ( old school :))

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