Deceased Previous Owner on Title
Deceased previous owner on title?
What happens when you go to sell your property and the Buyer discovers through a title search that there are not 1 but 2 additional pieces of property in not 1, but 2 different people’s names that belong to the main property you are selling? (And this is a residential transaction). The entire transaction comes to a screeching halt. But how do you fix this?
Unfortunately these two pieces of property were not transferred over with the main piece when the property was sold initially and subsequently. You would think it would be a simple matter to just have the previous owners (only 2 in this case – if you can track them down) to transfer title over into the now current owners names as rightfully so.
In this particular case, the most recent person, the previous owner was contacted and immediately agreed to transfer the tiny piece of property that remained in their name, over to the current Sellers so that the transaction could proceed. However, the previous Seller was nowhere to be found. In fact, he was deceased and had been for a very long time.
Title Insurance does come into play. But what if the Buyer is insistent that they have title to that piece of property so that there are no future issues. It is their right after all. Then what do you do?
If real property owned by a deceased person is not transferred to the entitled beneficiaries upon the owner’s death, in Ontario, the Estates Administration Act provides that real property that is not disposed of, conveyed to, divided or distributed among persons beneficially entitled to it within three years after the death of the deceased shall vest in the persons beneficially entitled to the property. Once property vests, the individual has a legal claim of ownership. As such, that individual becomes the owner, despite the fact that registration remains in the name of the deceased.
This may require a Court Application to obtain a Vesting Order to rectify the situation. Once a Vesting Order is granted, the party who obtained it can take steps to register the Order on title to the property.
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