As an attorney I often find people waste their time and money on incomplete tax property "quiet title" actions. If you have spent the time and money to acquire the rights to possess the property, make sure you quiet the title properly otherwise it will not allow you to sell the property.
Greg Stanley, Attorney
Moderator of Face book's "Alabama Tax Sale Investor's Club"
AMEN!!! @Gregory Stanley . And remember, if you have not gained possession "lawfully" you will not be able to quiet title, no matter how long you've held it afterwards.
I am stull burning redemption rights but as an average how much is an uncontested quiet title action?
@Jeremy W. it depends on whether you are able to do an in personam or an in rem quiet title. In personam to a default could be as little as $500 to $750 in legal fees. In rem to a default can run between $3,000 to $5,000 because it is more complicated and also requires a guardian ad litem. @Gregory Stanley , do you want to weigh in on this? My law license is in Texas, not Alabama, so I know about attorneys fee ranges from asking people, but not just from general living and talking to attorneys all the time, like Greg.
Thanks @Denise Evans . Each case is different. I typically stick to an agreed-upon set fee so the client has no surprises; but as you said, the fee depends on complexity, publication, attorney ad litem, title search, number of defendants, etc.
To add to @Gregory Stanley 's comments, every case is different largely usually because of the number and complexity of the defendants or the title history. If it is an in rem suit, and Grandma lost the property several years ago and then died without a will and left 4 children, one of whom died after Grandma but before the QT lawsuit, and that predeceased child had 5 children of their own who are all now grown and living all over the United States, it can take a lot of time tracking down everybody and whether anybody had any wills or not. Also, there are other potential claimants who must be identified through title and tax records searches and named in the complaint. The complaint must certify under oath what steps were taking to identify and find all possible defendants BEFORE you just fall back on your service by publication and guardian ad litem. That's a very serious responsibility. Clients who want to help keep down legal fees should have a straight forward conversation with their attorney about what they can do to help, such as research about tracking down heirs. Working with an attorney is a relationship, not a passive activity.
That's really good insight as I was thinking the more time that passed would have the opposite effect. I was looking at it as the more time that passed the less people would have to be tracked down where as from your post I see that list is only growing with time, or can be depending on the situation.
What goes into deciding weather you would do in personam or in rem? The circumstances behind the previous owner on title?
My process is to determine what will be needed to clear title. A "quiet title" order is not really of any value if it doesn't address the right issues. You can actually file and get quiet title on certificated property but it is worthless.
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