We manage a 2-family house in Luzerne county PA. Recently found out the owner, an older, single man, passed a few weeks ago. We have no emergency contact info, and our background trace shows no relatives associated with his name. We will be keeping rent collected in an escrow account. Does anyone have experience on how to track down whether there was a will, or if he died intestate? I expect to have to use a lawyer, but hopefully can get some preliminary leg-work done before going on the clock. Thanks!
You could check to see if a Will in his name has been filed with a Probate Court. Although it sounds as if he might have been the type that never had a Will. You could search county records to see how the property is formally titled, in whose name or names, possible joint tenancy or tenants in common with others, notwithstanding no current evidence of co ownership, etc. Might even check for an obituary publication.
@Marc Winter This is not directly on point but worth a read for you as it touches on issues you may not be thinking about...
Another way is to request a copy of the death certificate:
Whomever filled it out (any relative, friend, acquaintance, etc.,) will be your first point of contact.
Skip tracer service they are pretty good and there is usually someone.
Contact the public administrator in the county this guy died in and ask, if they're handling his estate?
Death certificate would be the best first option, but I don't know if PA is an 'open records state'. If so, you can order an informational copy. The informant is typically a relative.
Thanks to all for your help. After calling the Prothonatary Office in Luzerne, who passed us on to Deeds and Wills, we got to the attorney handling a will! Thanks again.
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