Homeowner is deceased, No probate or Will

25 Replies

I came across a few properties that are vacant and the owner is deceased with no will, No children but some family members I could skip trace. No probate is open. What can I do to see who owns the property now to make a offer to. Or should I let these type of properties with these problems go?

Request the death certificate from the county. Whomever filled it out will be your first point of contact. When you make contact with a family member, inquire about buying out their interest in the property then you'll be able to initiate the probate process.

Right now consider that the property has a title issue that you'll want to cure.

@Rafael Campos , I was referring to an attorney to discuss the possibilities, and a suit for quiet title if you can get title.  If you can find an heir, let the heir decide what they want to do.  You may buy them out, or come up with another strategy.  

One other thought:  study 'adverse possession' and see if it might work for you in this situation.  It could take some time, but hey, if you have no money invested, it is your time to spend.

You haven't provided a location... so we'll talk in general terms.

The family member(s) who would inherit the property pursuant to the state's laws on intestate succession would be the people you want to work with. Figure out who the interested parties are; help them open an estate and get appointed as Administrator / Personal Representative / Executor; and then sign a purchase and sale agreement with them.

Point being the decedent's estate owns the property and that's who you will need to deal with if you want to buy it.

@Rafael Campos these can get real tricky if no will and a lot of family members involved. Family can fight over real and personal property through the courts and probate can be expensive!! When did the owner die? The appraisal for the property will be at time of death and in California if the appraisal comes back at 150K or below then you can do a terms of succession which is much faster but your big problem here is no will and family members. I would not offer to pay attorney fees if multiple family members. Keep in touch with a family member and build a good relationship with them and once all figured out you can sign purchase agreement and purchase the property. Keep in mind there will be competition contacting the family members to purchase the property during the probate process as well.
@Rafael Campos ok, look up there law on back taxes as well and see how long they can go unpaid before the property goes to auction as well. The big thing here is a mess that needs to be cleaned up before you put any money into this thing. After 5 years in California, if you don’t pay your property taxes the house goes to auction.

In Texas, you don't have to go through probate. Find the heirs and get 2 disinterested people (they won't benefit from the sale) to sign affidavits of heirship.

You can always contact a title company. They know the steps to get clear title.

@Rafael Campos a lot of your options are going to be state specific.  Probate laws and rules are different in almost every state, even if generally they are the same.  If you have general questions about the process in a particular location consulting with an attorney could be a good first step.

In  my area the tax assessor gets to choose which properties to bring to sale, and puts in a mix of those that they think the owner will pay up with those that they are pretty sure will not. You could check with your tax assessor's office and if you have a land bank in your city, talk to them. They can move the process along if they are convinced they have someone who will pay up.

To locate filing for death certificates your local county vital statistics department should have it or go to this webpage: http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/vs/reqproc/deathcert.s...

For more information on transferring property after death and avoiding probate court study this webpage as well: 

https://texaslawhelp.org/article/transferring-prop...

The dead-end your hitting you should consider it as taking baby steps.

Good luck..

@Jorge De Jesus Interesting. IMO dumping crap deals on professionals you need to assist you is a great way to find yourself without a title company who will help you on your next deal.

I saw the same strategy advocated by a Homevestors team recently.

@Rafael Campos

This is way over your head and I say, forget about it. There are tons of deals out there and you have probably already missed some while worrying over this one that could end up being snatched up by an heir or anyone else not you. 

You've learned a lot here but, as a coach, I encourage you to move on to something far easier.

Originally posted by @Tom Gimer :

@Jorge De Jesus Interesting. IMO dumping crap deals on professionals you need to assist you is a great way to find yourself without a title company who will help you on your next deal.

I saw the same strategy advocated by a Homevestors team recently.

 I must still have something in my ears. Running title searches is dumping crap on professionals? If they are professionals they won’t issue commitment...?

Originally posted by @Jorge De Jesus :
Originally posted by @Tom Gimer:

@Jorge De Jesus Interesting. IMO dumping crap deals on professionals you need to assist you is a great way to find yourself without a title company who will help you on your next deal.

I saw the same strategy advocated by a Homevestors team recently.

 I must still have something in my ears. Running title searches is dumping crap on professionals? If they are professionals they won’t issue commitment...?

You suggested opening title without an enforceable contract. Unless you close deals you are not an asset to a title company.

Best of luck to you in your investing.