Probate should not be necessary for the property if you believe your mother intended to give the non-family member a the life estate. If you have issues with that contract, you should meet with a local probate attorney to discuss options.
The general advice above does not constitute an attorney-client relationship: you haven't hired me or my firm or given me confidential information by posting on this public forum, and my answer on this public forum does not constitute attorney-client advice. IRS Circular 230 Disclosure: In order to comply with requirements imposed by the Internal Revenue Service, we inform you that any U.S. tax advice contained in this communication (including any attachments) is not intended to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing, or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed herein. While I am licensed to practice in New York and California, I do not actively practice in New York. Regardless, nothing said should be deemed an opinion of law of any state. All readers need to do their own research or pay an attorney for a legal opinion if one is necessary or desired.Ask a similar question
My guess is that the purchaser's interest in a land contract would be considered an asset of the estate. It is possible, depending on how this was structured, that the interest that your mother had terminated upon her death, in which case, there would be nothing to include in probate and equitable title in the property interest would pass to the heirs. This sounds like an unusual arrangement, however, and the documents should be reviewed by a probate attorney to be sure you are proceeding correctly.
The Will provision can only be given effect through probate. A contract provision may take it out of probate, however.
***Please be sure to mark if you find the answer "helpful" or a "best" answer. Thank you! I hope this helps. ***************************************** LEGAL DISCLAIMER I am licensed to practice law in the State of Michigan and have offices in Wayne and Ingham Counties. My practice is focused in the areas of estate planning and probate administration. I am ethically required to state that the above answer does not create an attorney/client relationship. These responses should be considered general legal education and are intended to provide general information about the question asked. Frequently, the question does not include important facts that, if known, could significantly change the answer. Information provided on this site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in your state. The law changes frequently and varies from state to state. If I refer to your state's laws, you should not rely on what I say; I just did a quick Internet search and found something that looked relevant that I hoped you would find helpful. You should verify and confirm any information provided with an attorney licensed in your state. I hope you our answer helpful!Ask a similar question
I do think you will need to probate your mother's estate as she was the seller under a contract for deed that has not yet been completed. It is only when the contract is paid in full that the seller supplies equitable title to the buyer via deed. Someone will need authority as personal representative to sign the deed completing the contract. Or, if 3 years has passed since her death, you could obtain a decree of descent for the transfer of the property to the buyers. I would definitely consult a probate attorney regarding same.Ask a similar question