Can some sell there potential rights to a property in probate?

Hello I live in Los Angeles California and a friend is due to inherit a house in Los Angeles county that his deceased father owned when he passed away without a will. The friend is interested in “selling” me the house but the house has not finished probate yet and is not legally in my friend’s (the son of the deceased) name yet. Can the son legally transfer his potential rights to the real property to me while the house is still in probate and can I take over the probate court hearings without the son. Will power of attorney over the property work? Also the deceased took out a “reverse mortage” on the property shortly before he passed. How can I see the amount owed on the property before I decide if I will invest into the property. Thank YouDuane 323 [email protected]

Asked on July 6, 2009 under Estate Planning, California


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Who is the personal representative of the estate?  You can make an offer to purchase the house from the estate which would leave liquid assets to distribute as indicated above.  The contract and he deed would have to come from the estate representative to you.  As for the reverse mortgage, it is my understanding that all liens on the property should be filed as encumbrances on the property.  A title search when the matter is in contract will reveal it, I believe.   

L.M., Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

First, how is your friend so certain that he will get the house when probate is settled if there is no will?  When someone dies without a will, the assets of the deceased pass by intestate succession laws of the state.  In California, intestate succession dictates that if there is a surviving spouse, the property of the deceased that was community property (that is, purchased during the marriage) goes to the surviving spouse.  If the house was separate property, and there is only one child, the surviving spouse gets 1/2 and the child gets 1/2.   If there is more than one surviving child, the surviving spouse gets 1/3 and the other 2/3 are shared by the surviving children.  If there is no surviving spouse, the surviving children share the property equally.  Perhaps your friend is an only child.  If so and there is no surviving spouse of the decease, then your friend will get the property.  My understanding of the law and the answer to your question about whether he can sign it over to you before probate is settled is no.  Regarding the reverse mortgage, once your friend has the property in his name, he can get that information for you.  I do not believe it is public record.

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