Printed from at 04:52 AM, Oct 22 2016
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Death - what happens now


I have a contract and am supposed to close on a coop next month. The person selling the apartment just died. Does anybody know what happens now?

Before we answer, can you clarify if you caused the death?

I believe you conclude the sale with the executor or other representative of the estate. Since you have a contract I don't think they can change the conditions of sale (unless they argue the seller was not of "sound mind" when s/he executed the contract. But I am NOT an attorney and I suggest you contact yours immediately as s/he will be able to give you a definitive answer.

well, it just became an estate sale.
You won't be closing either.
Title of the property has to be transfered from the party of the first part to the inheritor.
Then the heir will have to decide if they want to sell the property to you.
Good news, you'll get you deposit back...some day.

Check your contract. "Seller" means "or executor" unless specified otherwise.

If it was the Purchaser who died, the typical contract terminates. Both Purchasers, not just one of you. That's around paragraph 23 in the typical contract.

Falcogold1 - I am not sure that you are correct, the exact thing happened to me when I was a buyer (1 week before closing), we just had to wait for the estate to go through probate and then we were able to close, it delayed things but it was still a valid contract. Duncmax, check with your attorney.

wow... sounds like a headache

the DA/police will knock on your door soon......worry that first

If no will is promptly probated, you can petition the NY County Administrator to
take over the estate. Information and forms can be obtained at Surrogate's Court
at 31 Chambers Street. Did so once when despicable and highly objectionable tenant
died under questionable circumstances. Fortunately - foreseeably? - I had an unbreakable alibi.

Court clerks are generally very helpful and will assist you with the process. You will need a
death certifictae for the seller but can obtain one at NYC Dept of Health at Worth and
Lafayette Streets. If you get the death certificate yourself bring along enough food and water
for at least 10 days as the lines are long.

"wow... sounds like a headache"

so true and not worth the time unless you have nothing else to do and are still not guaranteed the coop.

You will be luck if the now-dead seller had a living trust aka an inter vivos trust. Many wealthier people do (and really anyone who owns real estate should, because it makes probate so much easier). The living trust is paired with something called a "pour-over will." In simple terms, all of a person's assets are held by his/her living trust, not by the person him or herself. Once the person dies, the pre-appointed trustee will then dispose of all real and personal property without probate oversight. I had a New York-based relative who died a few weeks before her co-op was due to close. The sale closed on time without a hitch. I would suggest you or your broker contact the seller's broker and find out if the now-deceased seller had a living trust and, if so, who is the trustee.

"wow... sounds like a headache"

tell that to the guy that died.

NYCMATT, do people need to get board permission before they die in a coop?

Comment removed.

gcondo, they only died because they couldn't afford it in the first place.

(there should be quotes around that comment)

Unless it has an "upon death" clause, get your escrow back & move on to another co-op - you don't even know who owns the place right now & it could be tied up in probate for years.

>Does anybody know what happens now?

You send a condolence letter, silly.

Comment removed.

As was discussed in the previous thread on this topic, you don't have the right to just up and "get your escrow back" unless the contract says so, which it probably doesn't. In any event, you'd need to go through the same bureaucracy to get the escrow refunded as you would need to to close.

Wrong, mucuk - contracts are void upon death, unless they stipulate otherwise.

Most co-op purchase contracts contain a clause on when closing is to take place; if it does not take place within that period, the period is automatically extended once (I think usually 30 days). After that the contract is void.

So there is no "bureaucracy" - it's in the terms of the contract. Escrow is not a quasi-permanent institution like Limbo.

Last person I know involved in this just ended probate after 5 years. Good luck waiting.

Must have been a killer price

I believe there is usually a clause in the contracts regarding death of either seller or buyer...check your contract and with your attorney

Duncmax, what does your contract say? What did your lawyer say?

I dont know if it was a killer price, but I hear the coop board is so bad, that people are dying to get out of that place - ba-dum-dump-chshshshshhhhh

your executor will have a blast telling people that their credit card, mortgage, auto lease, etc. contracts are "void" on death. that's among the most bizarre things i've read here.

streeteasy law school is not too highly ranked it would seem.



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