How do I get a deed to a house if the owner is deceased and has no living relatives?

Asked on July 14, 2015 under Real Estate Law, Pennsylvania


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

All property is owned by *someone*--when the owner died, it went to some distant relative of whom you are unaware, or someone to whom he willed it, or to a bank if a mortage went unpaid, or to the town for unpaid property taxes, or escheated to the state if *no one* else had a claim on it. There is no unowed property. (Of course, if the owner died recently, the dust may not have settled on who owns it.) Find out who owns it (e.g. check in the county clerk's office) and contact them; or if the estate is still being administered, contact the administrator (if there was no will) or executor (if there was a will)--you should be able to get this information from the probate/surrogage's court. Once you contact the current owner or person with authority over the house, make them an offer. You can't force them to sell, but they may be willing to give you an attractive deal to take the property off their hands. 

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