Real estate often makes up the largest asset in a loved one’s estate. But transferring real estate can be tricky, especially if the property is tied up in a legal situation. Legal problems can prevent the sale of estate property or cause the proceeds of sale to be held in escrow.
We regularly encounter roadblocks to sale of estate property. Here are four common situations and how they can be resolved.
Property owned by a grandparent but nothing was done.
When a family property is titled in a grandparent’s name, the children and grandchildren may want to sell the property or transfer it to the descendants. But these transfers can be very difficult. The main roadblock that arises is when the family members who were in line to receive from the grandparent have passed away. In these situations, multiple estates must be opened, and many family members involved.
The solution to these complex situations is to walk through probate step by step for each estate and each heir. If any interest is skipped in the process, the property will not have clear title.
Separating title to property co-owned with another person.
It is common for a loved one to leave a partial interest in a property to their heirs. For example, a loved one may have co-owned a property with a family member, friend or a co-investor. In these circumstances, the heirs receive only the share of the property owned by the deceased.
The hope is that the co-owners will cooperate with the heirs in selling or buying out the estate’s interest. But if the co-owners do not agree to a buyout, a legal action called a partition action may be necessary.
Occupants who refuse to leave a property.
A person occupying a property without a legal right to do so can complicate a sale. This commonly occurs when an estate heir feels entitled to remain in the property even though the property should pass to the beneficiaries.
A lawsuit called an ejectment action is the solution in these types of situations.
Property with title defects.
Property that has a title defect or challenged title will block the sale of a property. There are many types of title problems. One common example is a lien which was paid in full but never marked “satisfied” in the chain of title. More severe title defects or title challenges can affect the estate’s ownership interest.
Title defects or competing claims to the property must be resolved through a quite title lawsuit.
As a probate law firm for estate executors, we help settle estates efficiently and reduce stress. If you know someone faced with a probate process or roadblocks to an estate property sale, please have them contact us for a free evaluation at:
Phone: (215) 918-4242
If you are not quite ready for a consultation, download our probate handbook HERE. We’ll send you helpful probate guides and resources so you know how to handle the estate.