I live in a condo and the man that used to live next to me had passed away and he don't have no family. How can my friend buy that condo? How does he go about it?
Just as a house is real estate, so is a condo. The deed will reflect the ownership. If it was held jointly with right of survivorship and was in the names of the man who used to live next door and someone else, it is now owned by that someone else. If it was solely in his name, that means that an estate proceeding must be done.
You say that he "don't have no family." First of all, if he executed a will, the will controls what happens to his property.
If he did not have a will, then his assets would be distributed in accordance with your state's laws of intestacy. Although it appears that he had no family, there is someone somewhere who was related to him -- a sibling, a niece of nephew, an aunt or uncle, or perhaps someone more distant.
Just because you don't know his relatives doesn't mean his relatives don't exist. If he never married and never had any children, he still is related to someone. And it may well be that someone whom he didn't even know (and perhaps someone who never even heard of him) will learn that he or she stands to inherit your neighbor's property.
You may wish to consult with a local attorney.
Good luck to you.
Michael S. Haber is a New York attorney. As such, his responses to posted inquiries, such as the one above, are limited to his understanding of law in the jurisdiction in which he practices and not to any other jurisdiction. In addition, no response to any posted inquiry should be deemed to constitute legal advice, nor to constitute the existence of an attorney/client or other contractual or fiduciary relationship, inasmuch as rendering legal advice involves the ability of the attorney to ask appropriate questions of the person seeking such advice and to thus gather appropriate information. In addition, an attorney/client relationship is formed only by specific agreement. The purpose of this answer is to provide the questioner with general information, not to outline specific legal rights and remedies.
Estate Planning Attorney
Attorney Haber gives sound advice. 1) look in public records to see how condo wad titled, 2) did your neighbor have a validly executed will for Florida probate purposes, 3) under Florida intestate laws you would see if he was married or had children. Then you see if he has siblings or if they had children. Assuming the answer to these questions is no the you look up to his parents and their descendants. So needless to say, more than likely their are some remote family members and if not than it escheats to the state. It is one of these three choices who you would buy the condo from.
If the deceased had a will-it should be filed at the courthouse(probate department) within 10 days of death. You can go to courthouse and check public files in the county of deceased.
You can also check the county records for ownership of property and if an mortgage exists.
You can post a sign on the door of deceased stating you are interested in buying.
Consult with local attorney to give you further ideas.
The answer given does not imply that an attorney-client relationship has been established and your best course of action is to have legal representation in this matter.
I agree with both attorneys If your friend wants to be proactive he can do some investigative work, see if he can find the condo's owner, and purchase it from them. If no one is opening an estate for the deceased person this would have to be done to complete the purchase. In my 20 years of practice I once had to hire a genealogical company to track down heirs and they found them in less than 60 minutes. (In that case my 90 year old Decedent had a 94 year old sister living in another state.)
In today's economy your friend should also check the public records to see if there is a mortgage on the property and how much. I am also going to assume that no one is paying condo fees for this property since the owner died. If that continues the condo association may foreclose on the property and your friend could bid on it at that sale.
The contents of this answer should be considered friendly advice, not legal advice and the answer should not be construed to constitute an attorney-client relationship. If you'd like actual legal advice, call me at 954-567-4100. Also, if you liked this answer did, be sure to click the thumbs-up button