I am just about to list a house. There are three owners and they are all willing to sign. However, on checking with the Registry Office, there are still four names on title. One owner passed away several years ago. They did see a lawyer at the time. What is the next step?
This situation could be somewhat problematic. I would be inclined to call the lawyer for the Estate as soon as possible. In defence of lawyers on this issue, when initially confronted with the situation of “now or later” many clients will simply say later. It doesn’t cost any money.
The question here is really how many prospective parties are involved, are they all co-operative and will they all sign documents if requested. The Estate of the Deceased only has three (3) years to register the Transfer, then it occurs automatically under the vesting provisions of the Act (Estate Administration Act).
One signature was all that was required during the first three years, but after that, it would be necessary to figure out who has to sign in order to effect a valid transfer of the property. If it’s just the other three owners, then I’m sure that they would all be agreeable, but frequently that is not the case and other beneficiaries may well have to sign off. If the only people involved are the three parties willing to sign the Listing, then it’s all just paperwork. If not, you have a problem and the Estate lawyer needs to deal with this at once.
It gets a little more complicated if there are Family Law Act issues. There is a statutory severance of the Joint Tenancy in certain circumstances. So, that would need to be ruled out.
Brian Madigan LL.B., Broker