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  1. #1

    Default Can a Sole Heir Bypass Probate and Sell a Home Not in Trust and with No Tod

    My question involves estate proceedings in the state of: Washington

    My only sibling passed away in early February. He was divorced and had one child who I’ve seen only a few times since she’s been an adult. His passing was sudden and quite unexpected, and I’m doubtful that he had a will. If not then his property would go to his daughter according to rules of intestate succession. His primary asset was his home.

    Because my relationship with his daughter is not good, we only had one brief conversation. For 3 months I’ve checked with the court and she has not filed a petition to be his personal representative. The deed for his home is recorded in his name and I see no evidence of a trust or transfer on death arrangement.

    Early March I visited his home and noticed from outside that all contents had been removed. I’ve also checked the home a couple times with online real estate sites and was very surprised last weekend to see that the home was listed late March, was extensively remodeled and had a pending sale in early April. I do not understand how a person who is not appointed to represent an estate can gain the authority to sell a home not owned by a trust and with no transfer on death deed. Am I missing something? Any suggestions would be much appreciated.

    At this point I am thinking about petitioning the court myself in order to better understand what is going on. Maybe that would force his daughter to disclose whether or not she found a will and to comply with probate procedures.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Can a Sole Heir Bypass Probate and Sell a Home Not in Trust and with No Tod

    "Sale pending" can mean a whole lot. But she must go thru probate to sell inherited real estate in Washington unless the title of the house included her such as "father or daughter" or transfer on death.

    It should be easy peasy to get on the assessors website and see how the house was titled.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Can a Sole Heir Bypass Probate and Sell a Home Not in Trust and with No Tod

    Thanks MalbyMark. The assessor site lists only his name. Do you think itís likely the pending sale will fail to close?

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Can a Sole Heir Bypass Probate and Sell a Home Not in Trust and with No Tod

    Quote Quoting OutsideTheBox
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    Am I missing something?
    Maybe. We have no way of knowing, though.


    Quote Quoting OutsideTheBox
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    Any suggestions would be much appreciated.
    Well...as you know, in the absence of a will or trust that says otherwise, you're not entitled to anything from your deceased brother's estate, so the first thing that comes to mind is that this really isn't any of your concern.


    Quote Quoting OutsideTheBox
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    At this point I am thinking about petitioning the court myself in order to better understand what is going on. Maybe that would force his daughter to disclose whether or not she found a will and to comply with probate procedures.
    You certainly could seek to probate the estate under the intestate law. If you were appointed as executor, you'd be entitled to "reasonable" compensation for that. I have no idea what that might amount to in actual dollars, but it will depend on, e.g., the size of the estate and the extent of any estate debt. I have to wonder why you'd want to do that. Is it solely to satisfy a curiosity as to "what is going on"? As far as "forc[ing] his daughter . . . to comply with probate procedures," why do you care?

    Note, by the way, that, while the house might be listed for sale, no lender is going to make a mortgage loan and no insurer is going to write a policy of title insurance unless your niece documents that she has authority to sell the property.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Can a Sole Heir Bypass Probate and Sell a Home Not in Trust and with No Tod

    Quote Quoting OutsideTheBox
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    At this point I am thinking about petitioning the court myself in order to better understand what is going on. Maybe that would force his daughter to disclose whether or not she found a will and to comply with probate procedures.
    You'd be wasting your time and money. Even if she has the will, she wouldn't have to produce it since she is sole heir to your brother under intestacy.

    At some point the buyer, the buyer's agent, or the escrow/title company is going to pick up on the fact that she cannot complete the sale of the property without going through probate. She may lose the pending sale and have to start over.

    It's also possible that she can become representative of the estate with a couple of days notice and be able to sell the property on behalf of the estate without ever having to title it into her own name. Then she can put the money into an estate account and distribute it to herself to close the estate.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Can a Sole Heir Bypass Probate and Sell a Home Not in Trust and with No Tod

    Quote Quoting pg1067
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    As far as "forc[ing] his daughter . . . to comply with probate procedures," why do you care?
    Itís a fair question that Iíve also been asking myself. Maybe what it boils down to is that by being a participant in the probate I might create a situation where my niece has to work with me a little, and we get to know each other better as adults. I used to know her when she was a kid, but that was different.
    It really is her job though, so maybe instead Iíll just try to correspond with her a little.

    Quote Quoting adjusterjack
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    It's also possible that she can become representative of the estate with a couple of days notice and be able to sell the property on behalf of the estate without ever having to title it into her own name. Then she can put the money into an estate account and distribute it to herself to close the estate.
    Thanks. That might well be what Iím missing and makes a lot of sense.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Can a Sole Heir Bypass Probate and Sell a Home Not in Trust and with No Tod

    Quote Quoting OutsideTheBox
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    It’s a fair question that I’ve also been asking myself. Maybe what it boils down to is that by being a participant in the probate I might create a situation where my niece has to work with me a little, and we get to know each other better as adults. I used to know her when she was a kid, but that was different.
    It really is her job though, so maybe instead I’ll just try to correspond with her a little.
    Using the legal system to try to force your niece to get to know you is likely just about the worst way you could go about achieving that goal.

    It is sort of like seeing someone you find attractive driving down the road and slamming your car into theirs.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Can a Sole Heir Bypass Probate and Sell a Home Not in Trust and with No Tod

    Quote Quoting PayrolGuy
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    Using the legal system to try to force your niece to get to know you is likely just about the worst way you could go about achieving that goal.

    It is sort of like seeing someone you find attractive driving down the road and slamming your car into theirs.
    I can sort of see what youíre saying, and my use of the word ďforceĒ is probably not a good choice. Iím also thinking that I can help her out since she seems hesitant to perform some of the executor duties.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Can a Sole Heir Bypass Probate and Sell a Home Not in Trust and with No Tod

    Quote Quoting OutsideTheBox
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    I can sort of see what you’re saying, and my use of the word “force” is probably not a good choice. I’m also thinking that I can help her out since she seems hesitant to perform some of the executor duties.
    If you want a relationship with her I'd suggest you sit down and write her a letter. I wouldn't mention anything about probate on the estate because when you do she will immediately think you are sticking your nose where it doesn't belong. And she will be correct.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Can a Sole Heir Bypass Probate and Sell a Home Not in Trust and with No Tod

    I noticed you didn't refer to her as "my niece."

    What was it that got you two estranged? Takes two. Think about what part you played. Call up, apologize (even if it was all her fault), and leave it to her to make the next move.

    Did you send her a card when your brother died?

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