I Found Out a Year Later That My Co-Owner Died!

4 Replies

Years ago, early in my investing career, a friend of my grandmother owned a duplex free and clear that he wanted to get rid of. I agreed to purchase it from him but never agreed on a price. He allowed me to put my name on the deed and agreed that he would remove his name when I paid him off. Years went by and we never agreed upon a price, didn't speak often and I never had any dealings with the property. A while ago my mom informed me the owner was in a nursing home so I figured I'd better make a decision on the house. I spoke w/ an attorney about purchasing it correctly so it wouldn't seem as if I was taking advantage of an elderly guy in a nursing home. I procrastinated too long and found out he died over a year ago!

I now own a property with a dead guys heirs. My lack of knowledge back then resulted in the deed being completed in a manner in which his share goes to his heirs, not to me (i.e. I completed the deed myself instead of hiring an attorney). He had 1 sister and she passed away and to my knowledge he has no kids. I do believe he has a niece that is strung out on drugs. The house has been sitting for years. I did pay a $1000 sewer bill that was owed b/c I was served by the courts and it was going to show up on my credit. What should I do with the property? I've spoken to my attorney and he suggested the following options:

1. Let the house go for taxes (only $950 is owed)

2. Keep the duplex, fix it up and rent it out, knowing that I'll never be able to sell it and the heirs could come along at some point and open an estate on the duplex

3. Open an estate in his name myself in order for the courts to determine if he has heirs and if not, I could potentially get the house.

I would have to spend about 20K to make it livable.What should I do?

How much would opening an estate cost? If that costs more than 20k I’d spend 20k and fix it up. What’s it’s ARV? It’s not that high or consider just letting it go.

You need to make an appointment right away asking options.

Sell your interest to the heirs for an amount which is reasonable under the circumstances. Or, buy out the heir(s).

You admittedly never had an agreement, and you paid $1000 total for 50% (?) of some other family's asset.

If it comes to a lawsuit, I don't imagine this ends well.  Just an honest opinion based on the stated facts.

What's the property value ?

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