How to sell land in a defunct trust?

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sh00ter

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Grandpa bought some land ~45yrs ago in another state and never occupied it. He passed, grandma got dementia and land was put into the name of a trust that was meant for my Dad and his siblings (who also have children). Dad was paying the property taxes with trust money until Grandma passed and then he paid the taxes himself for decades until he passed. I took over doing the same and still receive the annual bill. Dad's siblings also passed and I have no relationship or knowledge of where my cousins I have not seen in 40yrs are. That side of the family wasn't close so I didn't spend much time with them as a kid. It is only just over an acre and still not worth much on the assessment value. An attorney once told me it would probably cost more than the land was worth to get it all situated. However, I wanted to ask y'all if there are any suggestions. I "feel" like since nobody even remembers it and my Dad and I have pretty much exclusively paid the taxes for most of the time it was owned that maybe somehow I could get it put into my name? The bill still comes to the name of the trust, but that is no longer in effect as far as I know. Anyone have any suggestions?
 

Shadowrider

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I’m confused. Who was named trustee of the trust? They would have had legal ownership of all the assets in the trust and could have distributed them as they saw fit.
Exactly.

You may could file proof of death and heirships as needed for the deceased trustees. And then deed it out of the trust. Whether it’s worth doing is dependent on how many heirs are involved.

A quiet title suit would be the other way.
 

retrieverman

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I don’t know how it works in an trust, but my understanding in just a piece of property with multiple “heirs” is even if you don’t “know” your cousins or their kids they’re still going to have to “sign off” on selling the property.

My Dad speculated in land and got into several situations where he just had to walk away, because one of the original heirs great grandkid didn’t want to sell unless they got “x” number of dollars.
It can and probably will be a mess.
 

okcBob

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I would get a copy of the trust & show it to an estate lawyer. If all trustees have passed, the trust will give direction on who controls it. The lawyer will be able to answer all questions on if it’s in effect, costs, & roadblocks to making you the trustee. He can also give advice on keeping it vs selling, etc. It’s worth the cost of a one time visit to a lawyer.

BTW, I just placed all my asset's, property, etc into a revocable trust & will. This is to make it seamless for my kids when my wife & I pass, as it will prevent probate court. So I am no longer the owner of anything, the trust is the owner. However, as the trustee I control the trust & can make changes as needed. Very interesting stuff.
 
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Uncle TK

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1) File a tax lien on property for taxes you have paid.
2) After the Time limit (Depends on State) File Deed.
3) Is you have squatters or adverse possession by neighbor.
4) Then may legal own the property.
5) File lawsuit against squatters or adverse possession for back Taxes
 

TwoShoots

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Who holds the trust in their hand? Look at it and see what it says. If you've been paying the taxes and so was he, you likely can sue for full rights like Uncle TK says, BUT it won't be worth it. I'd just stop paying the taxes and tell them the owner died then let it go to the state.

Want to get some money out of it? Well you *could* just take a chance that the other part of the family doesn't have any knowledge of the property, file a title transfer warranty deed, and keep paying the taxes for 2 years. Then sell it like you've owned it forever. If the rest of the family doesn't know it exists it's likely you'll never hear anything else about it.
 

Ahall

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There was a similar situation on my great grandmother's property.
It was a mess on a good day.
Lessons learned:


Land laws vary widely between states. They are created and changed by men, so what worked in the past may not be the right answer today.

1)Identify a local attorney that does wills, trusts, and property work in the area.

2)Read the trust documents.
3) Assess the status of the property, and get a ball-park value in your head.
If it's too far to go to do a google earth fly over and drive by.

4)Try to figure out how many other parties are involved in the sale.
Try to find out if all the parties are competent to transfer the title.

Contact the attorney and get a rough assessment of what your options are.
Remember, attorneys bill by the hour.
Go in with your records in order and keep the conversation simple and fact based. Start with a basic outline of the situation and keep it general. The attorney will ask probing questions where they need additional information to advise you.

If you don't want it, and you can't get a clean title what it's worth, find out how to get rid of it without spending additional money.
 
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