How to purchase a property with no living family member or will.

8 Replies

How can a property be purchased or sold when the owner was adopted out of the country, never married and passed without a will?  

@Corey Melkonian you really need to find an attorney that specializes in probate to answer this question. Perhaps @Sharon Vornholt would have some thoughts. For some reason I can't mention @Rick H. You can search probate cases and find his information and reach out to him. You might also consider other means of acquiring title such as buying the tax liens or deeds (depending on how your state of Massachusetts works). 

A probate attorney will be able to solve this.  

If the person was adopted from another country and it was a formal adoption, they they should be a l US citizen.  The court would have to appoint an administrator (which is the usual process when there is no will) then the property could be sold.   

To continue @Sharon Vornholt 's point, you are trying to buy the asset, not the beneficial interests of any would-be heirs.

A probate court can appoint an administrator and empower them with sufficient capacity and authority to pass marketable title, complete with title insurance. 

However, it may very well end up being a court confirmed sale which is open to competitive bidding.

Thank you all, I haven't heard of any tax liens in Mass. I'll connect with a probate attorney for the next step. Thanks again for the information.

@Corey Melkonian  

Masscourts.org is a good place to look for probate attorneys. Also you can check to see if there were any cases opened for the decedent.

The issue is standing. 

You currently have no leverage or principal with the capacity, authority and powers to pass marketable title to you (or anyone else, for that matter).

In most jurisdictions, the State's Probate Code provides for a list of who can file and be appointed administrator of a private estate, in order of priority. In all the State's I've seen there us a provision for "anyone else." However, that bottom of the list priority makes the petitioner subject to others with higher priority knocking them out and removing them.

Oh, and since you have fiduciary duties to the estate, the creditors, claimants and heirs you won't be selling the property to yourself. And you have no equity as an heir or creditor. The heir chasers (who look for intestate estates) will find the heirs in short order and eliminate your chances there.

So, you'll be entitled to your fees as administrator, hopefully get your costs for a advances back, but that's about it. 

As you can see, it's a little more complicated than you might think it was.

Thank you Bill, Sharon, Rick and Rich. You all are a wealth of knowledge and I really appreciate all the information. 

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