Property with Many unknown heirs

I am asking this for a friend:

Property X is under the name of husband (A) and wife (B) who passed away in 1960s and 1940s. After the deaths, one (C) of the daughters started living there. After the daughter (C) passed away about 10 years ago, one (D) of the granddaughters changed the address to her address and started paying the real estate taxes about 10 years ago. The granddaughter’s (D) mother (C) is the one who used to live there after the grandparents (A, B) passed away. The house has been abandoned since then and no one is living there. The granddaughter (D) wants to sell the property where her mother (C) used to live, but she (D) estimates that there are at least 30 other grandchildren from her deceased uncles and aunts. She (D) has been unable to locate them all for many years. She (D) does have contact information for a few cousins. She (D) is tired of keep paying the taxes and has been delinquent on taxes for the past two years.

What can be legally done to transfer the house under the granddaughter’s name? No other relative has every come up to her (D) and claimed their right nor asked for their shares.

Please let me know if you need more information to answer the question.

The ‘30 other grandchildren’ likely have no claim on the property, unless there was a will that says otherwise. However, short of a will, and it’s a crap shoot who shows up for grandpa’s fortune.

In fact, if there was no will, the real estate is liable for a probate case. In that case, it’s likely that the state will take a huge chunk of equity, after supervising the sale proceeds.

At the same time, the court will determine the succession of ownership, and determine if anyone besides those paying the taxes had any equity positions with which to claim.

You should talk to a real estate attorney, PRIOR to notifying any authorities about the fact that the original owners have become garden fertilizer.

And it was enormously stupid to contact all the relatives about the house. They’ll get notified if necessary, by court order. Otherwise, why poke the hornets nest unnecessarily? Just asking.

IF THERE WAS A WILL, then you can avoid a bunch of probate hassles, and simply follow the will.

*** BTW, it IS very important to write a will, according to the statutes of your state, so that the state doesn’t have an excuse to get it’s bony fingers on YOUR equity. It’s probably even better to transfer the title (before YOUR ashes become cat litter) into a trust, so that the property can transfer to your next of kin without triggering tax liabilities.

Thank you for the response. If "In fact, if there was no will, the real estate is liable for a probate case. In that case, it’s likely that the state will take a huge chunk of equity, after supervising the sale proceeds. " is the case, does it even worth getting attorney if a huge chunk of the equity will be gone to the state in addition to the attorney fee?

It mostly depends on the equity value of the property. If it’s one of the cheapo properties that’s worth $35k all wet, probably not worth it. If it’s worth $250k? Sure, as long as there’s no loan(s) against it (or huge liens).

Get the property under contract, and THEN do your homework. Perhaps a 6-month due-diligence/probate clause with a 180-day extension, just in case probate goes for a year…? Otherwise, don’t do a bunch of due diligence BEFORE you to tie up the property. Waste your time AFTER you’ve got the deal tied up.

Thank you again for you help.
The property doesn’t have any lien or mortgage. Property value is around $60,000 and the there is a potential buyer as well even though the price hasn’t been discussed yet.

Will find a lawyer and see what can be done.

Talked to several lawyers. They said the seller and not buyer would have to retain them. It will be a long and expensive process. They will have to track down all the relatives and hire third party company to advertise which can be very expensive.

Is there an easier way to do deal with it? Can I get the property under contract from the one granddaughter and take it to title companies to see if they can figure out a way?

You’re just gonna have to wait until the court approves a sale, and of course, you’ll have a contract offer of exactly ‘$2.98’ plus recording fees ready and waiting.

That is, you’ll list all the defects in the house, and the cost of repairs, and needed upgrades to make the house actually worth $60k …and after deducting all those costs (probate, repairs, etc, etc.) the net value of the house will fall to $2.98, or the land value, whichever is greater. Or as close to nothing as you can make the probate judge believe is true.

Frankly, I think this might end up only serving as a learning experience. You know, learning why it’s more profitable to focus on higher-priced real estate. FWIW

Someone once told me not to chase pennies with dollars. I’ll just add ‘Don’t spend gobs of time chasing pennies, regardless.’