Properties in deceased person's name

4 Replies

Hello everyone,

      I'm just getting started with wholesaling homes.  My husband and I went "driving for dollars," and we identified several homes within a 2 block radius that we could start reaching out to their owners about selling.  While doing some research on these properties, I discovered that there were 3 houses that were listed under a person's name who is now deceased.  I haven't been able to dig really deep to see if there are any next of kin, but I'm assuming that's where I need to start.  I know that these properties continue to collect liens from the city for different infractions (needs cleaning, boards on windows, etc.).  I have a few questions.

1.  Where's the best place to find out if these properties should be passed on to next of kin?

2.  Since these properties continue to collect liens, do I contact the city to see if these liens can be waived or part of them waived if there is no next of kin?

3.  Who else should I be contacting to see if we can obtain these properties if there is no next of kin?  And if there is a next of kin, what questions should I be asking if we're still interested in obtaining these properties?

Like I said, I'm a newbie in this area and just need to know what cans of worms I could be opening up.

Thanks in advance for your advice and time!


There will always be some sort of next of kin out there somewhere in the line of succession. The liens will grow until title is transferred out of the deceased persons name and either paid off or property sold. If taxes go unpaid for five years the property will be auctioned off. I have paid a private investigator to find the first heir to properties before and had some great deals out of it. You will have to go through probate with an attorney to transfer title, unless property is in a trust, or if property is appraised under 150K, at the date of death, you can do a terms of succession, which is usually a few months instead of a whole probate process and if there are multiple heirs it gets tricky. Let alone you will have competition during the probate/succession process and contracts are not fully binding since property will not be in your sellers name yet. You can always start paying taxes and take care of property and try quiet title or adverse possession, but that’s a risky game to play. FIND THE HEIR AND CUT A DEAL THAT WAY! My best advice on this

Skip trace ALL family members you can find and just start dialing.  Eventually you'll find someone that knows something.  Call, find them on FB, mail to the heirs, put a door hanger on the front door asking for anyone who can get you in touch to call you, etc.  

And yes, liens from the city vary, but most can be reduced drastically with negotiation. 

We've negotiated liens from $25K to $1500 and similar large drops plenty of times.

Thank you for the responses, @Bryan Blankenship and @Mike Flora .  I do have a few follow up questions.  This particular house is less than $150K, so how does that affect transfer of title once I find the next of kin?  And then I found there were 2 other properties that were under trusts, but these houses are also behind on the taxes and collecting liens.  What can you do for houses that are under trusts that are obviously not being taken care of?

Double check your area on the 150K for terms of succession. Out here in my area of California it’s 150K or less. Now you say it’s in a trust?? If its in a trust then you need to find the immediate heirs of the deceased because most likely they will be included in the trust as property should go to them. If so then you should be able to sign a purchase agreement with them and title will ask for the trust and death certificates and you will skip probate/terms of succession. FIND IMMEDIATE HEIRS and you might be able to get multiple deals on this. Kind of strange no one has come forward on these properties to cash in or do something with them. Repost once you find an heir or figure out the whole story with these.

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