Clear An Inherited Title
Question: How can a seller legally clear a title to sell a property?
I have a question I need advice on. I am interested in purchasing a small lot (100 x150) in Bridgman, Michigan, from a gentleman who inherited it as residual from his grandfather back in 1935. The property was held tenants in common with the grandfather and his wife who later divorced. He died first with a will, and she second, intestate. This would mean that this grandson only inherited half of the lot, although he has been paying taxes on it since 1935. (He is 96 years old now). He believes since the wife died without a will, with no spouse, or no issues, her part was distributed among the six sisters. He also believes these people are all deceased. The deed always remained in the grandfather's name, and frankly, since it was residual property and never even described, no one probably knows it exists, except the 96 year old part owner and me. How can he legally clear it to sell to me? I have heard that in instances like this a legal notice can be put into the newspaper where it is believed any heirs might be living announcing the proposed sale? Any ideas? Thanks for your help
Answer: What it sounds like to me is that the elderly gentleman needs to file suit to quiet title alleging adverse possession. He has a claim of title by right of inheritance, he has possessed the property, and he has been paying the taxes, all since 1935. If you want to buy the property, order a title insurance commitment, discuss with the title insurance company the need to quiet title through court action. Then file the suit, get the court order and clear title and close. Of course the gentleman will need to be the party who files suit. I would recommend that you do it soon, because these suits can take up to 6 months and if he passes away, then you also have a probate court involved. One of our attorneys can assist you with this real estate related law suit.
Attorney: Mark Miller