Q: My mom died & the mortgage company made me Successor in Interest & says I can sell. Is opening an estate still needed?
The home is located in Baltimore, MD but I reside in SC. Right after her death I did call the probate courts in MD where I was told I didn’t need to open an estate and that’s when the mortgage company named me Successor. All the correspondence is addressed to the estate of my mom C/O myself. I have put the house on the market & have a closing date set for 2 weeks but now the realtor says she isn’t sure if I need an estate for the title co to approve the sale?
This question is one of title to the property. It does not matter if the mortgage company names you as a successor in interest for the property. The title deed of the property is what controls this situation. The title company handling the settlement should be able to tell you whether or not you have proper title interest in this property. I recommend contacting the title company to determine if you are able to close on the property.
Good luck in your future endeavors.
Mark Oakley and Scott Scherr agree with this answer
A: It is surprising that the buyer's title company and title insurance underwriters have not demanded curative action. But at this stage of the transaction, it is up to them to determine if they will accept title from you. Of course, you will remain responsible for any warranties of title in the documents you sign. The SC probate court is not in a position to give you advice on real property law, and how property passes ownership in Maryland.
Scott Scherr agrees with this answer
A: Unless you were on the deed to the property as joint owner with right of survival, then you have no legal status to execute a deed to transfer title to a purchaser of the property--nor even to sign the sales contract. Assuming your mother was the sole owner on the deed when she died, then the ONLY way the property can be sold is if an estate is opened and a Personal Representative is appointed to act for the estate. That certainly can be you, especially if you are the sole heir. The PR of the estate has the legal authority to sign the real estate sales contract and to execute the deed to transfer title, as well as accept the proceeds of sale to deposit into an estate account for ultimate distribution to the heirs in the estate. You should hire a lawyer to act as estate counsel and open the estate for you, and then re-execute or amend the real estate contracts to reflect your signature as Personal Representative of your mother's estate. If, however, you are already a joint owner with right of survival on the deed (and were so titled before your mother passed), then you already own the property and it is not part of your mother's estate--which means you are able to sign and sell the property and keep the proceeds. Any lawyer can look up the deed on the property in Maryland's online land records database and confirm the title information, which will answer the question you ask as to what you can and cannot do.
Cedulie Renee Laumann agrees with this answer
A: Let me add to my answer the following: I assumed in my prior answer that your mother died as a resident of Maryland. If this is not accurate, and she died in SC and you opened an estate in SC and are the named executor/personal representative of the SC estate of your mother, then my answer changes. Title still matters, but ther is an abbreviated means by which a foreign state executor can sell real property in Maryland: you fill out and file the Maryland Foreign Estate packet, and file an exemplified copy of the SC proceedings with it, and then as foreign PR of the SC estate you can sell th MD property that is titled in your mother's name. A lawyer can assist you with this process.
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