What happens to a buy/sell agreement if the seller passes away 2 days before closing?

UPDATED: Jan 18, 2011

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What happens to a buy/sell agreement if the seller passes away 2 days before closing?

I was in the process of purchasing my grandmothers property through her power of attorney (she was in a nursing home). We were set to close on 1/18/11 (down payment, escrow, etc. were all in place), but she passed away on 1/15/11. Now the youngest of the 3 children doesn’t want to sell. Since the buy/sell agreement was in place by the POA (signed in November), does that become an obligation of the estate to sell the property as per the agreement? The buy/sell expires 5/16/11.

Asked on January 18, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Louisiana


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

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

The question here is if the contract is still valid after the passing away of your Grandmother.  As I am sure that you know a Power of Attorney dies with the party for whom it is in effect.  But if the POA was valid at the time that the contract was executed and the contract is a valid contract I think that you are correct: the estate has to honor the contract or face being sued for breach.  You can sue for specific performance of the contract.  Real property is considered "unique" under the law and therefore the law allows a person to sue for that property itself rather than for money damages for a breach.  Get legal help here.  Good luck. 

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