Probate Help

I just found a property that a guy wants to sell, but he isn’t on the deed. Here is the situation:

His girlfriend bought the house five years ago and they lived together the whole time. They had a child together (he is now 11) and she died a few years ago. He wants to sell the house and move on, however, he doesn’t have the money to get his girlfriend’s estate handled. He mentioned it would cost $3,000 (I’m not sure where he got that number) to get it settled and another $4,000 he owes in back taxes. Anyway, what is the fastest and cheapest way for me to buy this property?

I am talking with an attorney next week, but would like to have some clue of what needs to be done OR if simple enough, eliminate the attorney.


If she had a will it will need to go to probate, in fact it should have gone to probate after her death! If she had a living trust and beneficiary directive ownership goes directly to those people named in the living trust.

If she did not have a will or a family living trust then the estate will go to probate but likely money from assets will go to a trust for their 11 year old child probable if these two were not married administrated by one of her parents or sisters / brothers.

He may want an attorney if he felt he should get something from her estate and they were not married but then that will start a court battle over “Claim” to a portion of the estate which will potentially drag this thing out.

There is no need for you to talk to an attorney as this guy does not have the legal authority to sell this house, if this woman had no will or living trust it will likely be sold by a trustee of the court for a reasonable arms length sale. Although it is a possibility that the judge will just convey the home to this woman’s living parent (s) or living sibling (s) who would become the trustee for the child’s future.

If they were not married and / or this guys name is not on the deed, then he has nothing legally to do with the house.
Back taxes are not good as this house could be lost to tax sale and should have been probated or taken over as beneficiary of a living trust a few years ago.

A living trust does not cost a dime to administer assets by her trustee, a probate with a will, will probable take about a year to settle and if she died without a will it could take 2 or 3 years to settle.

He could be in violation of state or federal laws for not probating or settling her trust right after her death as their are legal ramifications concerning state and federal taxes, creditors, her name on open credit, debt incurred, or back taxes owed.

Considering he is the boys father I am surprised he did not do what was required as soon as she died, I suspect it is because he would no longer have the house to live in and because of finances chose to ignore probate laws.

He can not settle anything unless he has a will in hand or which was placed with an attorney, otherwise her family Dad, Mom, Sister, Brother, etc. needs to probate her estate. I wonder what happened to any creditors she had at her death, they could now be owed thousands of dollars in interest and penalties!

I would run from this if I were you, the house positively will not be sold wholesale unless he is in possession of a will?


That is my fear. He has nothing to do with the estate and I spend my time trying to make it happen. Unfortunately, he will lose the house to back taxes in a few months if he / they do nothing about it.

My intentions were to get an attorney involved, who hopefully, would take over the case as Personal Representative, then sell it to me. But that seems unlikely since the status has a sibling living next to the potential property.

From my understanding, he has done nothing with the estate because he has no money.


He needs to contact her family and get probate started, the judge has the ability to court order a freeze on taxes, etc. etc. and then at least any equity would ultimately be going to their son when he turns probable 21. 

It is just plain stupid that this guy has not protected his son / daughter (The 11 year old child) financial future as this should be a no brainer for a responsible parent!!!

Why hasn’t this sibling living next door probated the property? Is there a lot of equity where this child will gain something substantial from the sale of this property?

Yea, unfortunately an attorney can only do so much as this family has to assist in the disposition of this estate for the child’s benefit.

No, he has done nothing with the estate because he has benefitted from staying their and making whatever small PITI mortgage payment is owed each month and probable gotten significantly lower housing payments (Rent) to remain living their! Did not have to pay to move 2 or 3 years ago and probable has benefitted otherwise by selling or spending her assets!!

It would not surprise me if this guy has used her credit cards or bank cards since her death?


Very good points!!!

There is no mortgage and not much equity in the house, except for sweat equity.

I’m not sure why they haven’t probated the estate. They are not like me at all, I would like to tie up loose ends as soon as possible. Ultimately, I understand the brother (neighbor) has recently lost a business, and the father (boyfriend) wants to move ASAP because he doesn’t want the memories of the house.

From my understanding, she did not have a will, but I will ask again. Should I ask him anything else, or is this a property to wash my hands from?


I think I would wash my hands as there is no way this house can change hands without being probated and it will definetly take a lot of time whether she had a will or not!



Thank you. I am going to follow your advice and move on.

Hopefully, I will soon have the knowledge like you guys do on this forum and can share some wisdom with others!

Again, thank you.