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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
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    Crenshaw County, Alabama
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    1,997

    Default Property ownership and deeds...

    Ok, here's a scenario you can throw your two cents at...

    In a Last Will and Testament several heirs are left with a piece of property. In the will it is written that one of the heirs is to receive x number of acres within the property boundaries as their own personal property, separate from the rest of the property. The location of these acres is that heir's choice. The heir decides on the location and has the parcel surveyed. The only other thing done in regards to the property is having the will probated.

    The county tax collector says that the survey is sufficient for ownership and property taxes...that no quit claim deed or anything is required.

    A local retired district judge believes, though, that a quit claim deed should be made for these acres from the other heirs to the heir receiving the parcel. The quit claim deed's intention being to specify the exact location of the x number of acres.

    Fast forward a year or two... The surveyed x number of acres are sold to a third party.

    Will the new buyer have a good legal document trail for the property?

    Ed

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Kingsville, OH
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    959

    Default Re: Property ownership and deeds...

    I would say yes. If the party who owned the property sold it before his/her death, then yes the new owner has the proper documents. The only thing I think you could do is to take the family member to court, and contest their ability to make financial deals. First I would take that person to a doctor and have a mental examine. If that doctor feels the person is not capable to make such decisions, have it in writing on the Doctors' letter head.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Laurens, georgia, USA
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    7

    Default Re: Property ownership and deeds...

    1. You have to get Alabama law advice on this. Every state has very different technical details in handling estates.
    2. My guess is that you have to get an executor appointed(assuming that was not done) and they need to then make a deed from the estate to the buyer. If properly done, no qcd is needed. however, it is always good to get one to clear up any questions about how the estate was handled. It sounds like the judge is aware of some title problems that the qcd will clear. I would certainly take his advice over any "Internet lawer's." and is much, much cheaper to clear thing up before you buy than after.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Tulsa, OK
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    3,436

    Default Re: Property ownership and deeds...

    My main piece of advice is to hire a lawyer, where you live. Look for somebody who does probates and title opinions.

    My best guess (and I am a lawyer who does not usually do probates, title opinions, or practice in Alabama), is that you need to have an order of distribution in the probate case that awards the specific property to the devisee who got the particular parcel, including a legal description of that property and a finding that the devisee selected that property pursuant to will's terms. Otherwise, you do not have any document that transfers title to that specific parcel to the property. As a procedural matter, you could probably re-open the probate. If not you could file a quiet title action.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Crenshaw County, Alabama
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    Default Re: Property ownership and deeds...

    Thank you everyone for your comments. They are all noted. I am trying to be careful of my wording so that I don't tip my hand one way or the other here. I may be on the inside looking out, on the outside looking in, or I may be a defect in the glass pane. Thus, if my writing seems stuffy or written awkwardly that is the reason.

    Some notes that may or may not be significant. The grantor died five years ago. There were three named executors, one of which opted out of being an active executor. The heir to the parcel in question is one of the executors. The parcel has already been sold by the heir to an outside party.

    Ben Franklin, I believe the individual has the mental capacity to make his or her own decisions regarding the property sale. The question is whether the individual can provide to the buyer a clear conveyance of ownership. What, may I ask, would be accepted as "proper documents"?

    Lancejones, I do understand where you are coming from on seeking local counsel. I also understand that people responding to my question via the internet could be Snoop (Dawg) Lion, Justin Bieber, or the guy that buys scrap metal down the road. I'm only seeking other's thoughts and opinions. Food for thought, if you will. So, a deed to the heir for the x number of acres would only need to be signed by the executor? In this case there are two executors so would both of them need to sign the deed. The other heirs need not be involved in deeding this property?

    NeilV, your advice to hire a local lawyer is noted. Would a document that included a legal description of the chosen parcel along with a statement from the heir stating that he/she chose that specific property pursuant to the will's terms be sufficient? This statement would need to be witnessed, notarized, and probated? No other interested parties of the estate would need to be involved? Is there a name for this type of document?

    In regards to the quiet title action...would this be done by the end buyer (the person that the heir sold the property to)?

    Thank you all for the feedback,
    Ed

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Phoenixville, PA
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    579

    Default Re: Property ownership and deeds...

    We have a land locked parcel purchased from a tax sale that was part of a 70+ acre farm bought in 1945 for what can now be called pocket change. This owner was very traditional and sold off a piece every time he needed some cash. He wrote a deed and filed it in the courthouse. The last buyer bought 10 acres in the '70's, built a house on one corner and intended to subdivide the rest. By then subdivision required township and county approval for zoning and fire access. The road to the 10 acres was a gravel driveway. The guy avoided tearing his house down when the township entered a restriction barring further subdivision until the road is improved. The entire 70 acres has only thirty-three feet of frontage between a neighbor and a cemetery. The township ordinance requires fifty feet minimum road width. Now in 2012, the driveway is still gravel and not a single structure was added since.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Farmington, New Mexico
    Posts
    6,547

    Default Re: Property ownership and deeds...

    Attorneys and title companies are your friends when it comes to real estate transactions.
    Nobody ruins my day without my permission, and I refuse to grant it...

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Tulsa, OK
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    3,436

    Default Re: Property ownership and deeds...

    I don't think a notarized/witness statement from the person who selected the parcel will get it done. You probably need to have a document that either transfers title to the parcel from the dead person's estate to the survivor, or you could get a court order declaring who owns that parcel.

    Again, you need a local real estate attorney.

    Also, unless the person who is selling this property does a quit claim deed and explains the title problems in writing, both the seller and the buyer need to get this figured out. If the seller gives a warranty deed (which warrants title, hence the name) the seller is running a risk of getting sued. Also, if financing will be involved, there likely would be some real problems when the lender gets the title examined.

    So, I highly recommend the involved parties hire a real estate lawyer and get this straightened out.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Laurens, georgia, USA
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: Property ownership and deeds...

    I actually did much title work in the past. The problem with answering your question is that we don't know all the facts. For example, must both executors sign? You would need to examine the probate judge's order, examine the will, and also have a good knowledge of Alabama real estate law. My memory is that your state is a little different than others. Having a title lawyer certify the title is very cheap compared to the potential loss if there are problems. If you are purchasing, it is a must. If you are renting to put your hives on, it depends on $ for rental, and how fast you can get your hives off if the owner turns out not to own the land.
    The statement from the heir would be good evidence in court later, but I don't think it is going to convey title.
    Look at the probate order, get all qualified executors to sign, and take a deed from all heirs, and you may be safe. But note that there could be title problems from before the probate, even if the land has "been in the family for years." actually, especially if that is the case.
    As a lawyer, I can say some legal services are overpriced, but a good title search and certification is not one of them.

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