Mom died. Sister now in shady real estate deal with Mom’s property.

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EdLaFave
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Mom died. Sister now in shady real estate deal with Mom’s property.

Post by EdLaFave » Thu Nov 21, 2019 7:18 pm

My mom died without a will.

My sister and her husband signed a set of documents with some “real estate investment” company to “put them on the deed” of my mom’s house. They gave my sister a signing bonus and promised to pay her 10k in the future. My sister understands nothing and just wanted “free money”.

This seems [very shady -- mod oldcomputerguy]

My expectation is that the estate would go through some kind of probate process where the assets would be sold, the debts paid/negotiated, and the leftovers distributed to my sister and I evenly.

So what is going on here? Is this a scam? Is this illegal? Is my mom’s estate being exploited? Are my sister and I being exploited (even though I had no part in this)? Can anybody explain to me what might be happening? I only just found this out and am beginning the initial investigation of this presumed scam and what I should do in response.

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whodidntante
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Re: Mom died. Sister now in shady real estate deal with Mom’s property.

Post by whodidntante » Thu Nov 21, 2019 7:28 pm

Is your sister on the deed? If not, I don't see how this is your problem. If she signed a contract with someone, she can deal with the fallout.

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FIREchief
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Re: Mom died. Sister now in shady real estate deal with Mom’s property.

Post by FIREchief » Thu Nov 21, 2019 7:32 pm

EdLaFave wrote:
Thu Nov 21, 2019 7:18 pm
My mom died without a will.
That's all we need to know. Your state's laws will protect all legal heirs. If somebody does something out of bounds, they will be liable for their actions. Have you hired a lawyer to protect your interests?
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Re: Mom died. Sister now in shady real estate deal with Mom’s property.

Post by sd323232 » Thu Nov 21, 2019 7:35 pm

FIREchief wrote:
Thu Nov 21, 2019 7:32 pm
EdLaFave wrote:
Thu Nov 21, 2019 7:18 pm
My mom died without a will.
That's all we need to know. Your state's laws will protect all legal heirs. If somebody does something out of bounds, they will be liable for their actions. Have you hired a lawyer to protect your interests?
I agree, since your mom did not leave a will, your sister has no full rights to the home. Ans since she has no full rights to the home, anything she signs does not mean anything. In fact, your sister may be taking that real estate company for a ride. If they give her money, they may never get the money back from your sister.

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Wiggums
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Re: Mom died. Sister now in shady real estate deal with Mom’s property.

Post by Wiggums » Thu Nov 21, 2019 7:38 pm

I’d consult a lawyer. Who is settling the estate?

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Re: Mom died. Sister now in shady real estate deal with Mom’s property.

Post by HomeStretch » Thu Nov 21, 2019 7:40 pm

Sorry for your loss.

Ask your sister for a copy of what she signed. You can go to your mom’s town or city hall to get a copy of the recorded deed to see whose name(s) is(are) on it and whether your sister has any legal right (i.e., her name is on the deed) to enter into a transaction with the property. Also find out if property taxes are paid up-to-date.

Consider a consultation soon with an experienced estate attorney in your state to find out how to handle your mom’s estate and the property issue.

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Re: Mom died. Sister now in shady real estate deal with Mom’s property.

Post by delamer » Thu Nov 21, 2019 7:44 pm

FIREchief wrote:
Thu Nov 21, 2019 7:32 pm
EdLaFave wrote:
Thu Nov 21, 2019 7:18 pm
My mom died without a will.
That's all we need to know. Your state's laws will protect all legal heirs. If somebody does something out of bounds, they will be liable for their actions. Have you hired a lawyer to protect your interests?
Right. You need a lawyer.

Here’s some information on how a personal representative or administrator gets chosen when there is no will: https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia ... cutor.html

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JoeRetire
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Re: Mom died. Sister now in shady real estate deal with Mom’s property.

Post by JoeRetire » Thu Nov 21, 2019 7:46 pm

EdLaFave wrote:
Thu Nov 21, 2019 7:18 pm
My mom died without a will.

My sister and her husband signed a set of documents with some “real estate investment” company to “put them on the deed” of my mom’s house.
So sorry for your loss.

Is this the order of events? Mom passed, then sister signs a document?
Did your Mom own the house, or did this company?
Is your sister the Executor / Personal Representative for your Mom's estate?

Make sure a lawyer is involved with the probate of your Mom's estate. If your sister and some company were doing something untoward, a lawyer could protect your interests.

It's not clear what is happening, what these documents are, nor if they will impact you at all. Possibly your sister is signing away her portion of a future inheritance. No way to know without someone (a lawyer probably) digging in.
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Re: Mom died. Sister now in shady real estate deal with Mom’s property.

Post by 123 » Thu Nov 21, 2019 7:51 pm

You, or your attorney, should check with the local registrar of deeds to see how the property was titled (held). If it was in joint ownership with the right of survivorship with someone else (maybe your sister) it likely would pass to the joint owner without any probate required. If there were recent changes to the title prior to your mother's death those should be explored for indications of fraud or elder abuse.
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Re: Mom died. Sister now in shady real estate deal with Mom’s property.

Post by Mr. Rumples » Thu Nov 21, 2019 7:58 pm

Deed fraud is common and this may or may not fall into that category in your state. In my state, the recorder of the deed just does that, records the deed and doesn't look into fraud. I'd start by seeing if the new deed has been recorded, then asking the recorder where you go to report deed fraud. At the same time, notify the clerk of the court which is handling probate. This is not new to them.

BillyK
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Re: Mom died. Sister now in shady real estate deal with Mom’s property.

Post by BillyK » Thu Nov 21, 2019 8:17 pm

If you and she are the only heirs, she likely can deed her heirship interest out and now you and the real estate investment company own the property together as tenants in common with undivided interests. You may want to check and see if they filed an heirship affidavit of record. Talk to an attorney, but unless your sister was incompetent to enter into the agreement and monies weren’t actually exchanged, you may need to buy their interest out or they may need to buy your’s. Unfortunately, your sister created a mess for you.

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Re: Mom died. Sister now in shady real estate deal with Mom’s property.

Post by Dottie57 » Thu Nov 21, 2019 9:01 pm

BillyK wrote:
Thu Nov 21, 2019 8:17 pm
If you and she are the only heirs, she likely can deed her heirship interest out and now you and the real estate investment company own the property together as tenants in common with undivided interests. You may want to check and see if they filed an heirship affidavit of record. Talk to an attorney, but unless your sister was incompetent to enter into the agreement and monies weren’t actually exchanged, you may need to buy their interest out or they may need to buy your’s. Unfortunately, your sister created a mess for you.
Doesn’t title need to be established before anyone can sell the property?

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EdLaFave
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Re: Mom died. Sister now in shady real estate deal with Mom’s property.

Post by EdLaFave » Thu Nov 21, 2019 9:49 pm

whodidntante wrote:
Thu Nov 21, 2019 7:28 pm
Is your sister on the deed?
HomeStretch wrote:
Thu Nov 21, 2019 7:40 pm
You can go to your mom’s town or city hall to get a copy of the recorded deed to see whose name(s) is(are) on it
123 wrote:
Thu Nov 21, 2019 7:51 pm
You, or your attorney, should check with the local registrar of deeds to see how the property was titled (held).
My mom is the only person on the deed.

Although the paperwork my sister signed would have sold the deed over to the company.
FIREchief wrote:
Thu Nov 21, 2019 7:32 pm
Have you hired a lawyer to protect your interests?
Wiggums wrote:
Thu Nov 21, 2019 7:38 pm
I’d consult a lawyer. Who is settling the estate?
HomeStretch wrote:
Thu Nov 21, 2019 7:40 pm
find out if property taxes are paid up-to-date. Consider a consultation soon with an experienced estate attorney in your state to find out how to handle your mom’s estate and the property issue.
delamer wrote:
Thu Nov 21, 2019 7:44 pm
Right. You need a lawyer.
JoeRetire wrote:
Thu Nov 21, 2019 7:46 pm
Make sure a lawyer is involved with the probate of your Mom's estate.
I haven't hired a lawyer. I have no idea who is settling the estate. Basically when I was told (incorrectly) that her house was hopelessly underwater and she had no other assets, I just never thought about it again.

However, I now suspect there MIGHT be 50k-ish of equity in the house. Unfortunately, the city has been putting a $250/lien on the house every day because the lawn wasn't mowed. Mortage payments haven't been made for over a year so property taxes must be owed. I also suspect she had some car debt and medical bills. I also suspect there are other fees associated with the probate process.

So I'm not sure if it would be worth it to hire a lawyer because there may not be anything left after the whole process is complete? I'm also not sure how to get a definitive answer to that question.
sd323232 wrote:
Thu Nov 21, 2019 7:35 pm
In fact, your sister may be taking that real estate company for a ride. If they give her money, they may never get the money back from your sister.
That would be an interesting turn of events since they're vaguely threatening her with legal action now that she is saying she is going to back out of the "deal".
JoeRetire wrote:
Thu Nov 21, 2019 7:46 pm
Is this the order of events? Mom passed, then sister signs a document?
Did your Mom own the house, or did this company?
Is your sister the Executor / Personal Representative for your Mom's estate?
Mom died. Almost a year passes and then my sister signs the document.

My mom owned the house. If the document were actually enforceable then I suppose the company may now own at least part of the deed since my sister signed the document (I do not think it is enforceable).

My sister is not the executor. I believe you have to at least start the probate process to have an executor named (there was no will) and all my sister has done is sign this document with the company. She hasn't done anything with a court.

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Re: Mom died. Sister now in shady real estate deal with Mom’s property.

Post by JBTX » Thu Nov 21, 2019 10:26 pm

Your mom died a year ago and there has been no probate?

It sounds to me like there really isn't any net equity left between all the claims.

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Re: Mom died. Sister now in shady real estate deal with Mom’s property.

Post by KingRiggs » Thu Nov 21, 2019 10:29 pm

Better call Saul... :shock:
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Re: Mom died. Sister now in shady real estate deal with Mom’s property.

Post by aristotelian » Thu Nov 21, 2019 10:47 pm

EdLaFave wrote:
Thu Nov 21, 2019 9:49 pm
However, I now suspect there MIGHT be 50k-ish of equity in the house. Unfortunately, the city has been putting a $250/lien on the house every day because the lawn wasn't mowed. Mortage payments haven't been made for over a year so property taxes must be owed. I also suspect she had some car debt and medical bills. I also suspect there are other fees associated with the probate process.
Sounds like your sister got a good deal for herself. Maybe you should give this company a call.

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Re: Mom died. Sister now in shady real estate deal with Mom’s property.

Post by Watty » Thu Nov 21, 2019 10:50 pm

EdLaFave wrote:
Thu Nov 21, 2019 7:18 pm
So what is going on here?
I am not a lawyer so this is just sort of thinking out loud so take this with more than a huge grain of salt.

With the mortage and property taxes not having been paid in over a year the house may have been foreclosed on.

In some states the prior owner may have a "right of redemption"(Google this) for a period of time where even after a foreclosure they can get the house back by paying off the debt and various fees. The details will vary greatly by state.

This can be a risk for someone who buys a foreclosed house since they could spend a lot of money to fix it up only to have the prior owner reclaim it with a right of redemption.

I am just speculating but the document she signed could be something that waives the right of redemption.

The first thing to do would be to read the document.

You may be able to check on Zillow to see if that address has a history of the house being foreclosed but I would not depend on it being accurate.

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Re: Mom died. Sister now in shady real estate deal with Mom’s property.

Post by oldcomputerguy » Fri Nov 22, 2019 5:46 am

This topic is now in the Personal Finance (Not Investing) forum (legal issues that have a financial component).
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Re: Mom died. Sister now in shady real estate deal with Mom’s property.

Post by fru-gal » Fri Nov 22, 2019 6:06 am

It sounds like you are in a soup of uncertainty due to no one handling the estate, even though a year has gone by. I would find out what the probate court says about who handles the estate in these circumstances (maybe you, if you apply) and then find out what the actual financial situation is. This should cost you only minor fees. You will likely have to be in control of the estate to get copies of bank statements, etc.

At that point, when you have all the paperwork in hand (copy of the deed, credit reports showing amounts owed, bank statements, etc.) you can decide if you want to hire a lawyer or just close things down in whatever way that is done for insolvent estates, if it is insolvent. The clerk of the probate court will likely be a source of information.

It would be very useful to know what your sister signed.

There is apparently a tremendous amount deed fraud going on, so your sister may have unwittingly signed away something of value. See:

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/21/nyre ... oklyn.html

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Re: Mom died. Sister now in shady real estate deal with Mom’s property.

Post by RickBoglehead » Fri Nov 22, 2019 6:28 am

EdLaFave wrote:
Thu Nov 21, 2019 7:18 pm
My mom died without a will.

My expectation is that the estate would go through some kind of probate process where the assets would be sold, the debts paid/negotiated, and the leftovers distributed to my sister and I evenly.

So what is going on here? Is this a scam? Is this illegal? Is my mom’s estate being exploited? Are my sister and I being exploited (even though I had no part in this)? Can anybody explain to me what might be happening? I only just found this out and am beginning the initial investigation of this presumed scam and what I should do in response.
If your mother died a year ago, you should hire a lawyer to properly probate the estate. For the past year, who did you expect was doing this?
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Re: Mom died. Sister now in shady real estate deal with Mom’s property.

Post by Jill07 » Fri Nov 22, 2019 7:31 am

I am sorry for your loss. I am in PA and can share my experience. Maybe it will be helpful to you or another reader. When a person dies without a will, someone (parent, child, sibling,etc) needs to take a death certificate to the County Register of Wills. The County will certify someone to act as Administrator of the Estate (Administrator is term for Executor when there is no will). If there are 2 or more individuals who are eligible to act as Administrator, the County requires that those individuals who do NOT want to be Administrator sign a certified letter relinquishing their duty to be Administrator.

The County provides the Administrator with raised seal letters certifying their role as Administrator of the Estate. The Administrator will need the certification letters and death certificates to sell homes, close bank accounts etc. My county provided a very detailed packet of information containing forms and steps to follow to close the estate. It was not difficult. I was able to do this without the help of a lawyer because the estate was very small & there were no conflicts with any beneficiaries.

From what you have written, I’m guessing that you and your sister are eligible to be the Administrators of your mother’s estate. One or both of you should have been assigned this role by the county register of wills. If only 1 of you assumed this role, the other should have signed a document relinquishing their role as Administrator. It is my understanding that the house could only be transferred by someone with authority to do so. That would be the Administrator of the Estate.

When someone dies and no one steps forward to probate the estate, I don’t know what happens. I can see where the property would be foreclosed upon for lack of payment of taxes, etc. Maybe that is what happened here? At this time, it would be best to consult with a lawyer.

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Re: Mom died. Sister now in shady real estate deal with Mom’s property.

Post by monboddo » Fri Nov 22, 2019 8:22 am

In some states, if a person dies without a valid will, their “real property,” such as land and house, passes directly to their heirs and does not go through probate, meaning it may have become your and your sister’s property when your mother died. Whether that means you are responsible for the liens on the property now I can’t say.

Bottom line: you really need to talk to a lawyer.

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Re: Mom died. Sister now in shady real estate deal with Mom’s property.

Post by JoeRetire » Fri Nov 22, 2019 8:28 am

EdLaFave wrote:
Thu Nov 21, 2019 9:49 pm
My mom is the only person on the deed.

Although the paperwork my sister signed would have sold the deed over to the company.
Someone who doesn't own the real estate cannot sell the deed.

No idea what the paperwork actually says, but it may well be nonsense.
I haven't hired a lawyer. I have no idea who is settling the estate.
As an heir to the estate you don't know who the executor is?
Basically when I was told (incorrectly) that her house was hopelessly underwater and she had no other assets, I just never thought about it again.
Who told you that?
However, I now suspect there MIGHT be 50k-ish of equity in the house. Unfortunately, the city has been putting a $250/lien on the house every day because the lawn wasn't mowed. Mortage payments haven't been made for over a year so property taxes must be owed. I also suspect she had some car debt and medical bills. I also suspect there are other fees associated with the probate process.
You don't even know who the executor is, and you are making a ton of assumptions without much evidence.
Mom died. Almost a year passes and then my sister signs the document.

My mom owned the house. If the document were actually enforceable then I suppose the company may now own at least part of the deed since my sister signed the document (I do not think it is enforceable).

My sister is not the executor. I believe you have to at least start the probate process to have an executor named (there was no will) and all my sister has done is sign this document with the company. She hasn't done anything with a court.
It's been a year. Most probates are settled within a year. You don't seem to have any idea what is going on. It's not clear that you actually care.

If you choose not to be involved, then things will happen of their own accord.

Good luck with that.
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Re: Mom died. Sister now in shady real estate deal with Mom’s property.

Post by aristotelian » Fri Nov 22, 2019 8:28 am

RickBoglehead wrote:
Fri Nov 22, 2019 6:28 am
EdLaFave wrote:
Thu Nov 21, 2019 7:18 pm
My mom died without a will.

My expectation is that the estate would go through some kind of probate process where the assets would be sold, the debts paid/negotiated, and the leftovers distributed to my sister and I evenly.

So what is going on here? Is this a scam? Is this illegal? Is my mom’s estate being exploited? Are my sister and I being exploited (even though I had no part in this)? Can anybody explain to me what might be happening? I only just found this out and am beginning the initial investigation of this presumed scam and what I should do in response.
If your mother died a year ago, you should hire a lawyer to properly probate the estate. For the past year, who did you expect was doing this?
Why "should" he do that if in his estimation there are negative assets, he was not named executor, and his sister also has equal claim?

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Re: Mom died. Sister now in shady real estate deal with Mom’s property.

Post by huai » Fri Nov 22, 2019 8:39 am

monboddo wrote:
Fri Nov 22, 2019 8:22 am
In some states, if a person dies without a valid will, their “real property,” such as land and house, passes directly to their heirs and does not go through probate, meaning it may have become your and your sister’s property when your mother died. Whether that means you are responsible for the liens on the property now I can’t say.

Bottom line: you really need to talk to a lawyer.
Can you name 1 such state? This would be highly unusual and would cause all sorts of problem from unsatisfied liens to unrecorded ownership.

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Re: Mom died. Sister now in shady real estate deal with Mom’s property.

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Fri Nov 22, 2019 8:41 am

I would think that you could do a gross survey of any major assets to see if there's anything worth claiming. With the death certificate, ask the bank what the status of any loans are. In my state, I could find out WHO had liens on the house by going to the county register of deeds. Then contact each entity with claim to the house to find out what was owned. With even a simply Zillow search, you can get some idea what the house might be worth. With the car, in my state, with a certificate of death, I could go to our version of the DMV and find any liens on the car and who they're owed to. With a KBB value, you can then figure out if there's any value in the car.

Bank accounts: We took care of my wife's aunt's dealings following her being run over by a truck and subsequent hospitalization for quite a while. We first went through paper work in the house to find accounts. With a POA, we could then go to each bank and find balances or simply wait for paper statements to arrive in the mail. She received all statements by mail. You could do the same. By this time (you said a year), statements from insurance or annuity companies will have arrived. Go through the mail. Put your mom's name into the state unclaimed property system to see if there's anything there.

These initial steps are free. You can get an overall picture of total assets. If there's hundreds of thousands of dollars in assets, it's then worthwhile to hire a lawyer and sort through the whole thing. If it's under water by hundreds of thousands of dollars, consider just dropping it.
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Re: Mom died. Sister now in shady real estate deal with Mom’s property.

Post by Watty » Fri Nov 22, 2019 8:55 am

Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Fri Nov 22, 2019 8:41 am
In my state, I could find out WHO had liens on the house by going to the county register of deeds.
In many counties you can do that on their web site just by entering the address without any special log in since that is public information.

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Re: Mom died. Sister now in shady real estate deal with Mom’s property.

Post by bsteiner » Fri Nov 22, 2019 9:10 am

You can't probate the Will if there wasn't a Will.
huai wrote:
Fri Nov 22, 2019 8:39 am
monboddo wrote:
Fri Nov 22, 2019 8:22 am
In some states, if a person dies without a valid will, their “real property,” such as land and house, passes directly to their heirs and does not go through probate, meaning it may have become your and your sister’s property when your mother died. Whether that means you are responsible for the liens on the property now I can’t say.

Bottom line: you really need to talk to a lawyer.
Can you name 1 such state? This would be highly unusual and would cause all sorts of problem from unsatisfied liens to unrecorded ownership.
New York is one such state. I haven't researched the others, but I would expect that to be the case in most of the others.

We've brought several partition proceedings where one distributee (heir) wanted to sell and another didn't, and in each case the court appointed a referee to sell the property and distribute the proceeds among the distributees (heirs).

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Re: Mom died. Sister now in shady real estate deal with Mom’s property.

Post by galawdawg » Fri Nov 22, 2019 9:33 am

In September 2018 you mentioned the possibility that your mother's estate might be insolvent due to a possible second mortgage on the real estate making it underwater. viewtopic.php?f=2&t=258692&p=4134385#p4134385

Did you ever get more information on the status of the estate and the real property after your post last year?

Has an action been filed in the probate court in the county in Florida where your mother resided?

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Re: Mom died. Sister now in shady real estate deal with Mom’s property.

Post by Stinky » Fri Nov 22, 2019 11:17 am

Wiggums wrote:
Thu Nov 21, 2019 7:38 pm
I’d consult a lawyer.
I agree.

OP, your post dealt only with the house. Are there any other assets that your mother had? (Bank accounts, annuities, brokerage accounts, etc.). I expect not, but if there are, the lawyer may need to get involved with those too.
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Re: Mom died. Sister now in shady real estate deal with Mom’s property.

Post by RickBoglehead » Fri Nov 22, 2019 11:55 am

galawdawg wrote:
Fri Nov 22, 2019 9:33 am
In September 2018 you mentioned the possibility that your mother's estate might be insolvent due to a possible second mortgage on the real estate making it underwater. viewtopic.php?f=2&t=258692&p=4134385#p4134385

Did you ever get more information on the status of the estate and the real property after your post last year?

Has an action been filed in the probate court in the county in Florida where your mother resided?
If that's the case, then OP should probably walk from the situation. He's let it go well over a year without doing anything, so unless he's going to hire a lawyer, he's got no options beyond sending a letter to the court and suggesting that his sister is doing something wrong.
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Re: Mom died. Sister now in shady real estate deal with Mom’s property.

Post by Sandtrap » Sat Nov 23, 2019 8:19 am

EdLaFave wrote:
Thu Nov 21, 2019 7:18 pm
My mom died without a will.

My sister and her husband signed a set of documents with some “real estate investment” company to “put them on the deed” of my mom’s house. They gave my sister a signing bonus and promised to pay her 10k in the future. My sister understands nothing and just wanted “free money”.

This seems [very shady -- mod oldcomputerguy]

My expectation is that the estate would go through some kind of probate process where the assets would be sold, the debts paid/negotiated, and the leftovers distributed to my sister and I evenly.

So what is going on here? Is this a scam? Is this illegal? Is my mom’s estate being exploited? Are my sister and I being exploited (even though I had no part in this)? Can anybody explain to me what might be happening? I only just found this out and am beginning the initial investigation of this presumed scam and what I should do in response.
Seek legal counsel asap.

j :happy
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Topic Author
EdLaFave
Posts: 430
Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2014 2:31 am

Re: Mom died. Sister now in shady real estate deal with Mom’s property.

Post by EdLaFave » Sat Nov 23, 2019 8:25 am

RickBoglehead wrote:
Fri Nov 22, 2019 6:28 am
If your mother died a year ago, you should hire a lawyer to properly probate the estate. For the past year, who did you expect was doing this?
As I said, I was given apparently false information that my mother was entirely underwater financially. That completely fit with everything I knew about her so I didn't think twice. As a result, I didn't care who was or wasn't handling this. I only got interested when it seems my sister may be getting into trouble and only then did I realize the original information I was given was likely false.
Jill07 wrote:
Fri Nov 22, 2019 7:31 am
I can see where the property would be foreclosed upon for lack of payment of taxes, etc. Maybe that is what happened here? At this time, it would be best to consult with a lawyer.
Yes, the foreclosure process has begun and I believe this is what attracted a real estate "company's" attention, which of course led to my sister signing this document. I contacted lawyers Friday, hopefully I'll get one picked out by Monday.
aristotelian wrote:
Fri Nov 22, 2019 8:28 am
if in his estimation there are negative assets, he was not named executor, and his sister also has equal claim?
galawdawg wrote:
Fri Nov 22, 2019 9:33 am
In September 2018 you mentioned the possibility that your mother's estate might be insolvent due to a possible second mortgage on the real estate making it underwater. viewtopic.php?f=2&t=258692&p=4134385#p4134385

Did you ever get more information on the status of the estate and the real property after your post last year?

Has an action been filed in the probate court in the county in Florida where your mother resided?
I was initially told there were negative assets. I now believe there is a small amount of value in the house. I've determined the balance of the two mortgages, the cost of the liens, and the Zillow value of the house. It looks like there is some value there, but I'm not sure how much of the debt/fees can be negotiated and I'm not sure how much probate/lawyers will cost. So there is still uncertainty here, but it looks like there will be something left over.

Action hasn't been filed in probate court yet.
Stinky wrote:
Fri Nov 22, 2019 11:17 am
Are there any other assets that your mother had? (Bank accounts, annuities, brokerage accounts, etc.). I expect not, but if there are, the lawyer may need to get involved with those too.
My mom had an IRA and my sister was the only beneficiary listed on that. So last year I helped her settle that issue and get that rolled over to her.

Aside from that there might be a checking account that I'll have to look into, but nothing major.

Mr. Rumples
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Re: Mom died. Sister now in shady real estate deal with Mom’s property.

Post by Mr. Rumples » Sat Nov 23, 2019 8:43 am

Really you need to sit down with your sister and explain that inheritance laws are complex and that anything she does will have to be approved by a court. Laws vary widely from state to state. She doesn't want to sign something and then be accused herself, due to her lack of knowledge, of fraud.

What makes it more complex is that there was no will. Intestate succession laws will dictate what can be done. Who knows, perhaps in your state the property must be sold and then the proceeds divided and she may not be able to do what she has done. Who knows...there might be a "carve out" which gives you first dibs on buying her share.

Unfortunately, she has made the need for an attorney a necessity.

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galawdawg
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Re: Mom died. Sister now in shady real estate deal with Mom’s property.

Post by galawdawg » Sat Nov 23, 2019 8:56 am

EdLaFave wrote:
Sat Nov 23, 2019 8:25 am
galawdawg wrote:
Fri Nov 22, 2019 9:33 am
In September 2018 you mentioned the possibility that your mother's estate might be insolvent due to a possible second mortgage on the real estate making it underwater. viewtopic.php?f=2&t=258692&p=4134385#p4134385

Did you ever get more information on the status of the estate and the real property after your post last year?

Has an action been filed in the probate court in the county in Florida where your mother resided?
I was initially told there were negative assets. I now believe there is a small amount of value in the house. I've determined the balance of the two mortgages, the cost of the liens, and the Zillow value of the house. It looks like there is some value there, but I'm not sure how much of the debt/fees can be negotiated and I'm not sure how much probate/lawyers will cost. So there is still uncertainty here, but it looks like there will be something left over.

Action hasn't been filed in probate court yet.
It appears from your replies that you are in the process of hiring an attorney. That is the best course of action if you are at all interested in pursuing this. Since your mother died intestate, until a petition to administer the estate is filed in probate court and a personal representative is appointed by the court, it is unlikely that your sister has the authority to convey, encumber or distribute any property in your mother's estate. A Florida attorney experienced in probate and estate matters is the best person to advise you on the process.

Of course, you should understand that before any inheritance is distributed to the heirs, all of the debts of the estate are paid. If your assumptions about medical bills, car loans and such are correct and the house is already in foreclosure, by the time the costs of administering the estate are paid along with any other debts, there may be nothing left for you or your sister.

Good luck.

Topic Author
EdLaFave
Posts: 430
Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2014 2:31 am

Re: Mom died. Sister now in shady real estate deal with Mom’s property.

Post by EdLaFave » Sat Nov 23, 2019 2:17 pm

galawdawg wrote:
Sat Nov 23, 2019 8:56 am
It appears from your replies that you are in the process of hiring an attorney. That is the best course of action if you are at all interested in pursuing this.

Of course, you should understand that before any inheritance is distributed to the heirs, all of the debts of the estate are paid. If your assumptions about medical bills, car loans and such are correct and the house is already in foreclosure, by the time the costs of administering the estate are paid along with any other debts, there may be nothing left for you or your sister.

Good luck.
Yes, I took all the advice and contacted attorneys on Friday. I hope to have one hired on Monday.

During the initial conversations I was told that when the property is a homestead, it is protected from creditors that aren’t directly related to the home. So property taxes, liens from the city, mortgages, and so forth are the only concerns.

So we will see what happens. Thank you, and everybody else, for the input. Hopefully this gets resolved in an orderly and favorably fashion.

fru-gal
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Re: Mom died. Sister now in shady real estate deal with Mom’s property.

Post by fru-gal » Mon Nov 25, 2019 6:59 am

Still interested to know who told you there was no value in the estate.

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galawdawg
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Re: Mom died. Sister now in shady real estate deal with Mom’s property.

Post by galawdawg » Mon Nov 25, 2019 7:49 am

EdLaFave wrote:
Sat Nov 23, 2019 8:25 am
Yes, the foreclosure process has begun and I believe this is what attracted a real estate "company's" attention, which of course led to my sister signing this document. I contacted lawyers Friday, hopefully I'll get one picked out by Monday.
Just speculation but I wonder if the "shady real estate deal" could actually be cash for keys? If the mortgage(s) and/or taxes haven't been paid in over a year since your mother died and the property is in foreclosure, maybe your sister saw an opportunity to get "her share" of equity out of the house without the hassles and expense of probate and the risk that there would be nothing left after a foreclosure sale.

huai
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Re: Mom died. Sister now in shady real estate deal with Mom’s property.

Post by huai » Fri Dec 06, 2019 1:03 pm

bsteiner wrote:
Fri Nov 22, 2019 9:10 am
You can't probate the Will if there wasn't a Will.
huai wrote:
Fri Nov 22, 2019 8:39 am
monboddo wrote:
Fri Nov 22, 2019 8:22 am
In some states, if a person dies without a valid will, their “real property,” such as land and house, passes directly to their heirs and does not go through probate, meaning it may have become your and your sister’s property when your mother died. Whether that means you are responsible for the liens on the property now I can’t say.

Bottom line: you really need to talk to a lawyer.
Can you name 1 such state? This would be highly unusual and would cause all sorts of problem from unsatisfied liens to unrecorded ownership.
New York is one such state. I haven't researched the others, but I would expect that to be the case in most of the others.

We've brought several partition proceedings where one distributee (heir) wanted to sell and another didn't, and in each case the court appointed a referee to sell the property and distribute the proceeds among the distributees (heirs).
As a NYS attorney I can assure you that what you are describing above is 100% not the case unless the the decedent took some proactive steps to avoid probate such as titling the property in a trust, or adding their heir as a joint tenant while still alive. You are most likely missing some key details.

bsteiner
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Location: NYC/NJ/FL

Re: Mom died. Sister now in shady real estate deal with Mom’s property.

Post by bsteiner » Fri Dec 06, 2019 3:40 pm

huai wrote:
Fri Dec 06, 2019 1:03 pm
bsteiner wrote:
Fri Nov 22, 2019 9:10 am
You can't probate the Will if there wasn't a Will.
huai wrote:
Fri Nov 22, 2019 8:39 am
monboddo wrote:
Fri Nov 22, 2019 8:22 am
In some states, if a person dies without a valid will, their “real property,” such as land and house, passes directly to their heirs and does not go through probate, meaning it may have become your and your sister’s property when your mother died. Whether that means you are responsible for the liens on the property now I can’t say.

Bottom line: you really need to talk to a lawyer.
Can you name 1 such state? This would be highly unusual and would cause all sorts of problem from unsatisfied liens to unrecorded ownership.
New York is one such state. I haven't researched the others, but I would expect that to be the case in most of the others.

We've brought several partition proceedings where one distributee (heir) wanted to sell and another didn't, and in each case the court appointed a referee to sell the property and distribute the proceeds among the distributees (heirs).
As a NYS attorney I can assure you that what you are describing above is 100% not the case unless the the decedent took some proactive steps to avoid probate such as titling the property in a trust, or adding their heir as a joint tenant while still alive. You are most likely missing some key details.
Even if it's in a trust (one of our cases involved a Medicaid trust), the result is the same if the trust provides for outright distribution upon the previous beneficiary's death:

Matter of Jones (a Court of Appeals case): https://scholar.google.com/scholar_case ... s_sdt=4,33.

Ruocco v. Ruocco: https://scholar.google.com/scholar_case ... 3&as_vis=1.

Olivieri v. Olivieri: https://law.justia.com/cases/new-york/o ... 51224.html.

DesertDiva
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Location: In the desert

Re: Mom died. Sister now in shady real estate deal with Mom’s property.

Post by DesertDiva » Fri Dec 06, 2019 4:49 pm

My suggestion: create a list that shows a timeline of events. Keep it simple and up-to-date - it should be living document.

Put it in a binder (first page) then put additional documents in tabs behind it.

Sample format:
1/x/2019 - relevant event
2/x/2019 - relevant event
3/x/2019 - Death of mother
4/x/2019 - sister did ______ (fill in the blank)
5/x/2019 - sister did ______ (fill in the blank)

It can help your attorney and prove useful as you navigate this maze.
Best wishes

huai
Posts: 54
Joined: Mon Jul 24, 2017 9:11 am

Re: Mom died. Sister now in shady real estate deal with Mom’s property.

Post by huai » Mon Dec 30, 2019 10:21 am

bsteiner wrote:
Fri Dec 06, 2019 3:40 pm
huai wrote:
Fri Dec 06, 2019 1:03 pm
bsteiner wrote:
Fri Nov 22, 2019 9:10 am
You can't probate the Will if there wasn't a Will.
huai wrote:
Fri Nov 22, 2019 8:39 am
monboddo wrote:
Fri Nov 22, 2019 8:22 am
In some states, if a person dies without a valid will, their “real property,” such as land and house, passes directly to their heirs and does not go through probate, meaning it may have become your and your sister’s property when your mother died. Whether that means you are responsible for the liens on the property now I can’t say.

Bottom line: you really need to talk to a lawyer.
Can you name 1 such state? This would be highly unusual and would cause all sorts of problem from unsatisfied liens to unrecorded ownership.
New York is one such state. I haven't researched the others, but I would expect that to be the case in most of the others.

We've brought several partition proceedings where one distributee (heir) wanted to sell and another didn't, and in each case the court appointed a referee to sell the property and distribute the proceeds among the distributees (heirs).
As a NYS attorney I can assure you that what you are describing above is 100% not the case unless the the decedent took some proactive steps to avoid probate such as titling the property in a trust, or adding their heir as a joint tenant while still alive. You are most likely missing some key details.
Even if it's in a trust (one of our cases involved a Medicaid trust), the result is the same if the trust provides for outright distribution upon the previous beneficiary's death:

Matter of Jones (a Court of Appeals case): https://scholar.google.com/scholar_case ... s_sdt=4,33.

Ruocco v. Ruocco: https://scholar.google.com/scholar_case ... 3&as_vis=1.

Olivieri v. Olivieri: https://law.justia.com/cases/new-york/o ... 51224.html.
@bsteiner - you just provided 3 examples where real property was transferred outside of probate precisely because the decedent placed it into a trust and thus was no longer the owner of the property.

This is very much supporting what I stated, and provides no evidence for (or against) your incorrect statement that real property passes from an intestate decedent without probate.

The cases don’t hinge on the decedent having a will and the property was distributed to the remainder men of the trust not the the decedents heirs

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