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  • #921

    Ron DiIenno
    Post count: 20

    I’m hoping someone can provide a little advice. I’ve got 80 acres in El Paso under contract for a great price. However, the property is listed in the seller’s grandfather’s name who is deceased. His children are deceased now too and the property has passed to her. How do I go about making sure all my ducks are in a row when making the purchase. The seller has her parents death certificates, but not the grandfathers. She is also checking to see if she has a copy of a Will. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Ron DiIenno
    Cabin Land Sales, LLC

Viewing 5 replies - 1 through 5 (of 5 total)
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  • Luke Smith
    Post count: 1262

    Sweet, you got a yes reply! Now the fun part. I got one with a similar story. Because I am new I figured why not learn now and then later when I say no I will know why right?

    From my studying you need to take them through probate. Once for grandpa to the parents then again from parents to the person who is alive. Think time and fees at each turn.

    If you know where the grandpa died you can order a Death Certificate. As a stockbroker I used to get into these kinds of problems. The nice thing is there are websites you can pay a little and they will dig up a death certificate for you.

    When I started adding up the fees it became very clear that this would cost more money before I even factored in the time than it was worth. There are lots of properties like this in Detroit, we call them zombie houses. Squatters move in and pay the taxes on them for years and years and years. They stay there and make it theirs. Later on they move out to a better zombie house they found or generally disappear. As an investor it is a nightmare trying to figure out who owns the place. You can probably pay the taxes, fix it up and rent it out and nobody will ever say anything. Someday they go empty and fall apart until the taxes pile up and they get auctioned off to get back into circulation.

    The good and the bad of our tax system.

    Wish I could find one of those Zombie deals on the beach in Southern California!

    Ron DiIenno
    Post count: 20

    Thanks for your reply, Luke. So if the deed is listed as John Q. Doe, et al, that does not include his heirs, correct?

    Jason Polley
    Post count: 38

    Hello Ron,

    Sounds like a messy situation. If there is enough room in the deal, which it sounds like there is, you could use a title company or closing attorney to help you out here. Or you could see if Steve and Jill are interested in partnering with you and split the profits. They might not be interested, but it wouldn’t hurt to ask.

    Any way you go, you’ll learn something for the future, even if you end up passing on the deal because it’s too much expense to too big of a hassle.


    Joel P
    Post count: 15

    Hi Ron,

    Being 2 months later, im curious what the resolution to this was, if any?



    Ron DiIenno
    Post count: 20

    Hi Joel,

    As much as I hated to do it, I passed on this deal. It was just going to be too costly up front to go through Probate. If it was just one generation I might have pursued it, but we were dealing with 2 generations of family members to get straightened out. It wasn’t a total loss, I did learn a lot from the experience.

    Best regards,

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